New Delhi: Indian footballer Bala Devi created history last year when she signed an 18-month contract with renowned Scottish Women's Premier League side Rangers FC. She not only became the first Indian woman to play outside the country professionally but did that at the age of 30 years.
Having found that the transition into top-flight Scottish football was "easier than expected" the Indian path-breaker will next seek to "encourage" aspiring players back home to try playing in the demanding leagues abroad.
Bala Devi played quite a few games before the league was postponed till April 30 owing to the Covid19 pandemic.
"I have always wanted to play abroad. It's a great experience for me. Once I am home I will encourage more girls to try their best to play abroad," Bala Devi told PTI from Glasgow.
"I will of course share my experiences with everyone involved in the betterment of Indian football."
Asked about her journey so far at Rangers, the ace forward said the league is much more demanding than anything she'd experienced in the past.
"I have learnt a lot. This is the first time in my career when I have been in full time training through a proper pre-season and league. The league is much more demanding as it's physical and fast and will go on through full steam.
"The infrastructure at the club is world class and the coaching and management has been top class and I learn something new every day.
"I have also been blessed to have friendly team mates some of whom I share my flat with. I nevere thought it will be so good."
When asked about her thoughts on the future, Bala Devi said she is looking forward to the resumption of the league. "I am obviously looking to restart the season and once that happens, I look to do my best for the club in the League and Cup."
Bala Devi was forced to extend her stay with the team in Glasgow owing to the travel restrictions enforced by the unprecedented global health crisis.
"Flights to India are not available at the moment. But I am absolutely fine here. I am totally safe. I am doing fine and trying to remain indoors. I am being taken good care by my club officials," Bala Devi said.
"I am indoors and following the government and club advice. I am out to the market only for buying essentials and for a jog once every 3-4 days.
Bala Devi works out at her house and the club keeps advising on how to maintain as much fitness as she can while staying at home.
Bala Devi is among the leading players of the continent to join the Asian Football Confederation's #BreakTheChain video campaign, aimed at raising awareness in the fight against the spread of coronavirus.
Asked if she misses her family, Bala Devi said "It would be good to be with my family but lots of people across the world are facing the same issue. It is best not to travel at this time. So for me it's best to stay back in Glasgow and wait and see the next stop."...