Photo credit: Indian Football Team

Indian women’s team footballer Kamala Devi announced her retirement from professional football on Wednesday, thus drawing curtains to an illustrious career that lasted more than a decade.

The footballer with 33 international goals in 36 matches, admitted that it was a ‘very tough decision’ and ‘there were a lot of considerations’ before taking the final call on hanging her boots.

It was back in 2010 that Devi made her senior debut, as an attacking midfielder and she was part of the Indian women’s national team that won the SAFF Women’s Championship in 2010, 2012 and 2014. She was also awarded the Best Player in the final of the 2012 edition of the tournament.

At the 2014 Asian Games, she scored five goals in the opening match against the Maldives and was the top scorer in the 2016 South Asian Games. In 2016, she was signed by Eastern Sporting Union for the inaugural season of the Indian Women’s League (IWL), as the team went on to win the title, with Devi scoring 15 goals in 10 matches to become the top-joint goal scorer.

In 2017, Yumnam was conferred with the AIFF Women Footballer of the Year award. Recently, she steered Gokulam Kerala FC to an IWL title and also helped the team qualify for the FC Women's Club Championship, becoming the first Indian club to achieve the feat.

The veteran was also part of India’s squad for the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2022 that ended in a heartbreak, but did not feature in the only match they played.

Kamala Devi’s full statement:

Dear Respected Friends, Family and Everyone else,

It’s been a hard decision for me but I would like to announce my retirement from playing professional football. It has been a very tough decision for me.

First of all, I would like thank my parents and my loving Edomcha.Then I would like to thank Oja Biren who taught me how to play football in the grassroots level which made me the footballer I’m and help me fullfill all my wishes that I had. I would also like to thank my respected local brothers who guided me and supported me throughout my career.