In a recent turn of events, All India Football Federation (AIFF) has congratulated Oinam Bembem Devi on becoming the first Indian women footballer and the seventh footballer overall to be awarded for Padma Shri Award.
“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,” Praful Patel, AIFF President, said in an official statement released by him.
“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,” Kushal Das, General Secretary, AIFF, said in his statement.
Former 🇮🇳 women’s team captain and the ‘Durga’ of #IndianFootball Bembem Devi will be conferred the Padma Shri award.
— Indian Football Team (@IndianFootball) January 26, 2020
Das was also quick to highlight Bembem’s remarkable 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,” he said.
Bemben joins a rare club of footballers who have won the coveted Padma Shri Award- Late Gostho Paul, Late Sailen Manna, Chuni Goswami, PK Banerjee, Bhaichung Bhutia and present Indian skipper Sunil Chhetri.