Imphal: Manipur chief minister N. Biren Singh honoured international footballer Ngangom Bala Devi and emerging Indian football team goalkeeper Elangbam Panthoi Chanu at the chief minister’s secretariat on Friday.
Bala was appointed to the post of Manipur Police Inspector.
The state government has been honoring the state athletes, sportsplayers and Olympians for bringing glory to the nation and the state, Biren said.
In January 2020 Bala became the first Indian woman footballer to bag a contract with a foreign club, for Scottish club Rangers FC on an 18-month contract which was recently extended for six months.
She was the first Indian footballer to play for a European club.
Bala was the Indian Women’s National football team highest goal scorer. She was named the All India Football Federation Women’s Player of the Year twice in 2015 and 2016. The Indian team forward was named as the AIFF Women’s ‘Footballer of the Year’, for the 2020-21 season.
Bala thanked the chief minister for appointing her as a police officer acknowledging her contribution. She said it is difficult for players in groups to get a government job, however, the People’s Chief Minister gives probable job to players, be it individual or group players.
She bagged Indian Women’s League Best Goalkeeper, 2017–18.
In December 2022, she along with Bala Devi, moved to Spain where they underwent training cum trial stint at the Spanish Segunda Federación outfit Málaga.
Both Bala and Panthoi played for Eastern Sporting Union.