NGANGOM BALA DEVI, THE MOST prolific forward in the Indian Women's National Team, made her debut for Rangers Women's FC this Sunday at the Scottish Women's Premier League.
As the Rangers began their league campaign against Heart of Midlothian LFC at home, Bala Devi was named in the starting line-up. The striker, who has made a name for herself by scoring 52 goals in 58 matches for India, wasted no time to register immediate impact in the match, getting an assist to her name just 11 minutes into the match.
As midfielder Megan Bell, a Northern Ireland international, tracked a through ball from midfield, she tapped it down quickly to send it towards Bala Devi, who showed a glimpse of her quick thinking by directing the ball towards an open space with her first touch. Megan ran up to get a hold of the ball, and as the Hearts keeper tried to approach her with an intention to block, found a way past her to send the ball into the net.
The early goal got the Rangers off to a commanding start and they went on to win the match 3-0.
Watch the highlights of the match, including Bala Devi's assist, right here courtesy the official Heart of Midlothian Football Club YouTube page.
Bala made headlines around the country by becoming the first Indian footballer to play at a top division European league since Gurpreet Singh Sandhu's stint with Norway's Stabaek FC. But even as she made it into her new club, it wasn't clear whether she would get game time immediately or have to work her way into the pitch over time.
However, the former Manipur Police player who scored a whopping 26 goals in the Indian Women's League 2018-19 was immediately handed a start by manager Gregory Vignal and it's safe to say the performance Bala put in during the game was enough to justify that decision.
After the first win, Rangers WFC are at the top of the table and will take on Spartans LFC away from home on 15th March in their next league game. Before that, however, they have two important SWPL Cup matches; on 28th February against Queen's Park LFC and on 1st March vs Hamilton Academicals LFC. Hopefully Bala Devi will be able to leave an impact in each of them and help give the Rangers' season to a solid start.