Manisha Kalyan

Manisha Kalyan signs with Apollon Ladies; set to become first Indian to play in UEFA Women’s Champions League.

Manisha Kalyan has joined the champions of Cyprus Apollon Ladies, her club of three years Gokulam Kerala announced on Sunday. The 20-year-old is a two-time winner of the Indian Women’s League with Gokulam and became the first Indian to score in continental club competition when she scored for the club in the AFC women’s Asian championship.

Apollon will be playing in round 1 of the UEFA Women’s Champions League qualifying – they play Latvia’s Riga FS on 18 August. If they win, they will face the winners of Switzerland’s FC Zurich and Faroe Island’s Klaksvik Kvinnur.

Kalyan is a livewire of a left wing forward, constantly running the channels, driving at defenders before cutting in and shooting at goal regularly and often, efficiently. She rose to the national spotlight when she scored a stellar goal against goliaths Brazil in a friendly tournament in South America.

As her profile on these pages reads: Footballing intelligence, pace, technique. And a dash of imagination. There’s a reason the kids in her village used to call her ‘Dinho’.

2020-21’s AIFF Emerging player of the year, she comes from Hoshiarpur, Punjab. She had previously played short stints at BBK DAV Football Club, Paldi Football Academy, Kenkre FC, Sethu Madurai and Doaba Sporting Club. As per the AIFF site, she has played 51 matches for club and country, and scored 40 goals. She was the second highest-scorer of this season’s league, with 14 goals.

Kalyan is the second player from Gokulam to move overseas after fellow forward Dangmei Grace, who moved to Uzbekistan’s FC Nasaf.