Women’s football has witnessed a major increase in popularity worldwide in recent years. Initially, the germ of women’s football was planted in India in the early 1970s. Best Indian female footballers were managed by the Women’s Football Federation of India (WFFI) from 1975 to 1991, as part of the Asian Ladies’ Football Confederation (ALFC).
Pernille Harder, Ada Hegerberg, Marta da Silva Vieira, Megan Rapinoe, and others were among the world’s pioneers of women’s football. Similarly, in India, many female athletes have conquered all difficulties and turned to football to demonstrate their potential. With their outstanding abilities, these players, among others, have propelled Indian women’s football forward. The women’s national team has yet to compete in either the FIFA Women’s World Cup or the Olympic Games.
According to FIFA Women’s World Rankings, the squad is now ranked 57th overall and 11th among Asian countries as well. The Indian women’s national football team has been named “The Blue Tigresses.”
So, let’s go through the Top 10 Best Indian Female Footballers who were selected for the AFC Women’s Asian Cup in 2022.
|Players Name||No. of Goals||Current Club Name|
|Loitongbam Ashalata Devi||4||Sethu FC|
|Yumnam Kamala Devi||33||Gokulam Kerala|
|Nongmaithem Ratanbala Devi||14||KRYPHSA|
|Dangme Grace||12||Gokulam Kerala|
|Indumathi Kathiresan||10||Tamil Nadu Police (women)|
|Pyari Xaxa||4||Rising Student Club|
|Manisha Kalyan||3||Gokulam Kerala|
|Dalima Chhibber||2||Gokulam Kerala|
1. Loitongbam Ashalata Devi
Loitongbam Ashalata Devi is also known as Ashalata Devi and she is an Indian professional footballer who not only plays as a defender for the Indian national team but also in Sethu FC in the Indian Women’s League. She served as the captain of India’s women’s national football squad but is also regarded as one of Asia’s best defenders. Further, Ashalata captained India throughout their Olympic qualifying campaign for Tokyo 2020, and she guided the team to the 2019 South Asian Games victory.
She was nominated alongside China’s Li Ying and eventual winner Japan’s Saki Kumagai. Also, Ashalata Devi has won not only the SAFF Women’s Championship 4 times but also the South Asian Games 2 times.
2. Yumnam Kamala Devi
Yumnam Kamala Devi, a former Indian international, has declared her retirement from professional football. Initially, she is bringing down the curtain on a spectacular career in which she has received several domestic and international awards. Football lovers throughout the country will miss her presence on the field. Yumnam Kamala Devi was instrumental in India’s many victories at the SAFF Championships. She was also a member of the teams that won gold at the South Asian Games in 2010 and 2016. Further, in 2017, she was named Women’s Footballer of the Year by the All India Football Federation (AIFF).
3. Nongmaithem Ratanbala Devi
Nongmaithem Ratanbala Devi, born in 1999, is an Indian footballer. She is a member of the Indian Women’s League’s Sethu FC and the India women’s national football team as well. She made her international debut in the 2018 AFC Cup Qualifiers. Ratanbala was called up to the national squad for the 2018 AFC Women’s Asian Cup Qualifiers, where she scored her first goal against Hong Kong on April 11, 2017. After that, she was a regular member of India’s women’s national football squad. Further, on November 13, 2018, she scored her second goal against Myanmar in the 2020 AFC Women’s Olympic Qualifiers Round 1.
4. Dangme Grace
Grace Dangmei is a Rongmei Tribe member from Dimdailong Village, Kangvai Sub-Division, Churachandpur District, Manipur. Initially, Grace made her international debut in the 2013 AFC Qualifiers. She will thereafter become a regular member of the women’s national team. Dangme was a member of Kryphsa F.C. in the inaugural season of the Indian Women’s League. In 2019, she joined Sethu FC for the third season of the IWL. On May 6, 2019, she scored a brace in her maiden match for Sethu FC against Manipur Police Sports Club. She scored a goal in the first half of the 2016 SAFF Women’s Championship.
5. Indumathi Kathiresan
Nongmaithem Ratanbala Devi, born on December 2, 1999, is an Indian footballer. She is a member of the Indian Women’s League’s Sethu FC and the India women’s national football team as well. She made her international debut in the 2018 AFC Cup Qualifiers. Initially, Ratanbala was called up to the national squad for the 2018 AFC Women’s Asian Cup Qualifiers, where she scored her first goal against Hong Kong on April 11, 2017. After that, she was a regular member of India’s women’s national football squad. Further, on November 13, 2018, she scored her second goal against Myanmar in the 2020 AFC Women’s Olympic Qualifiers Round 1. Then, on January 21, 2019, she scored again in a friendly against Hong Kong, and on January 27, 2019, she earned her maiden hattrick for the national team in another friendly against Indonesia.
6. Sanju Yadav
Sanju Yadav is an Indian footballer who not only plays forward for Gokulam Kerala FC in the Indian Women’s League but is also a member of the Indian women’s team. She mostly practiced with members of her community and the Indian national team. Initially, Yadav was named the AIFF Emerging Player of the Year on December 21, 2016, following her exploits for both the club and nation. She subsequently joined Rising Student’s Club for the 2017-18 Indian Women’s League, where she scored two goals in the final round. She joined Gokulam Kerala FC in 2019.
7. Pyari Xaxa
Pyari Xaxa, born on May 18, 1997, is an Indian women’s international footballer. She not only plays for the Rising Students Club but also the India national team. Initially, Xaxa began her football career in her home state of Odisha with the team Kunwarmunda. Rising Student signed her in 2016 to play in the inaugural season of the Indian Women’s League. She concluded the season with 14 goals, ten in the preliminary round and four in the championship round. Her squad was defeated in the final by the Eastern Sporting Union. After playing for India’s U19 squad, Xaxa earned her senior international debut in 2015. Further, she also won the AIFF Emerging Woman Footballer of the Year award. She was a member of the Shillong squad that won gold at the 2016 South Asian Games.
8. Manisha Kalyan
Manisha Kalyan is an Indian football midfielder. She plays for the Indian women’s national team as well as the Indian Women’s League club Gokulam Kerala. Further, she was named the AIFF Women’s Emerging Footballer of the Year for 2020–21.
9. Sandhiya Ranganathan
Sandhiya Ranganathan was born on May 20, 1996. She is a Tamil Nadu-born Indian professional footballer who not only plays as a midfielder for the Indian women’s national team but also in Sethu FC in the Indian Women’s team. Initially, she scored her first goal in the COTIF Women’s Football Tournament in 2018. Further, on March 17, 2019, she scored her second goal against Sri Lanka in the 2019 SAFF Women’s Championship. On April 6, 2019, she further scored another key goal for the national team against Nepal in the 2020 AFC Women’s Olympic Qualifying Round 2.
10. Dalima Chhibber
Dalima Chhibber is a footballer from India. She currently plays for the Indian women’s national team and Gokulam Kerala. Dalima played for FC Pune City in the 2016-17 Indian Women’s League season before joining India Rush SC for the 2017-18 season. On March 31, 2019, she joined Gokulam Kerala FC for the 2019-20 Indian Women’s League season.
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