New Delhi, Jan 26 (IANS) All India Football Federation (AIFF) has congratulated Oinam Bembem Devi, after she became the first Indian woman footballer, and the seventh overall to be selected for Padma Shri Award.
Praful Patel, AIFF, President, said in a statement: "Congratulations! None deserve it more than Bembem Devi. She has been a role model for Indian Football and won so many laurels for India over the years. I hope more girls draw inspiration from her and take Indian Women's Football to greater heights."
Kushal Das, General Secretary, AIFF, in his statement said: "Bembem is a living legend and has been the flag bearer of Indian Women's football over the years. This is the year of the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup which we are hosting, and I feel it will provide the necessary fillip to inspire the next generation, and generate interest among all stakeholders. Congratulations."
Das also made a mention of Bembem's contribution to the sport as a coach after hanging her boots.
"Post retirement Bembem has been transferring her knowledge as a coach, having being part of Indian National age-group teams, and also as the club level. I wish her all the best for her professional and personal life."
In the process, Bembem joins the elite club of Late Gostho Paul, Late Sailen Manna, Chuni Goswami, PK Banerjee, Bhaichung Bhutia and current Indian Men's National Team captain Sunil Chhetri as Indian Footballers who had won the prestigious Padma Shri Award.