New Delhi [India], May 17 (ANI): All India Football Federation President Praful Patel felt that all players should "take inspiration" from women's team forward Bala Devi who is currently on a professional contract with Rangers, the first Indian woman footballer to do so.
Interacting with national team players across all age-groups in a video conference Patel told Bala: "We are extremely proud of your achievements. You have shown the road ahead for budding footballers, and have proved that our women footballers are no way inferior to any. I am sure you will make others - your colleagues, the U-17 Women's team girls to dream too."
Bala who is currently in Glasgow said that the unprecedented exposure stints with the national team made her 'confident' as a player.
"In 2018-19 we were constantly playing, or camping. It made me more confident about my abilities as a player and made me believe in myself. We played against so many countries including matches in Europe. Those matches helped me immensely to get myself the current club contract," she said.
Bala was referring to the women's senior team playing 25 friendly matches in 2018-19, a fact which was also highlighted by goalkeeper Aditi Chauhan.
"On behalf of everyone in the team I need to thank you for all the exposure tours. The standard of football in our team has improved drastically. Results have followed and it has made us more confident and helped us mature into better players," Aditi told the AIFF president.
Striker Dangmei Grace added: "The more we got to play the more we improved. The strong International calendar helped us a lot. It was exciting, and we look forward to such matches. Thank you."
Meanwhile, men's national team defender Sandesh Jhingan maintained that everyone should "do their best to stay fit."
"We cannot control what is not in our hands. But we need to utilise the time to stay fit as and whenever everything opens up once again. On my part, we have been provided schedules from the national coach and Professor (Luka Radman) and I am sticking to it," he said.
Taking it a bit further, iconic striker Sunil Chhetri has urged every footballer to strictly follow their own schedules during the lockdown phase. (ANI)