Indian women’s football team midfielder Manisha Kalyan, who signed a two-year contract with Cyprus’s champion club Apollon Ladies FC, has said that there are more girls from the national team can make such moves in the future.
Manisha’s senior teammate, striker Dangmei Grace has also secured a move abroad, joining Uzbekistan’s FC Nasaf Qarshi on a six-month deal.
With the move, Manisha is set to become the first Indian player to play in the UEFA Women’s Champions League. The Cypriot club will participate in the Round 1 qualifying playoff for the UEFA Women’s Champions League and are set to take on Latvia’s Riga FC on August 18.
“I think there are more girls in the National Team who can make such moves in the future. The kind of matches we have been playing against quality teams, they really help you get an idea of how to tweak your game in what kind of situations,” said Manisha.
The 20-year-old shot to fame last year when she scored a famous goal against giants Brazil in their own den.
“I had been talking to a few clubs recently, and Apollon’s offer intrigued me a lot, starting from their facilities to their aim of building the team further,” Manisha told www.the-aiff.com after reaching Limassol.
“I did a little research on the club and its players before coming here, and I am very hopeful that we can grow forward together.”
Manisha has already had three training sessions with her new club in the second largest city of Cyprus, and though the attacker feels it is first and foremost, a time to adapt, she did enjoy the intensity of the training sessions.
“The playing style is a little different here. It will take a little time to adapt, but I am really enjoying the intensity of training here,” she said.
“My teammates have been really friendly and approachable, so I am hopeful that we will all gel together.”
“I’ve been quite used to staying away from home while playing for the National Team. What made it easy was that we were all like a second family,” Manisha said.
“I’ve only been here in Limassol for a few days now, but life does feel a little different. It’s a completely new city, with new people around me. It’s a bit difficult at the start, but I’ll adjust. The main thing is to do well on the pitch.”
With Apollon set to play the UEFA Women’s Champions League in August, Manisha may be on the verge of completing her dream.
“Competitions like the Champions League are what every player would have dreamt of playing, and just the thought of getting a chance to play there is thrilling. From my end, I’m prepared to give my 100 percent to play the Champions League and help my team do well,” said Manisha.
The 20-year-old feels that the exposure she has gotten with the National Team in recent times has helped her gain the experience and the confidence to take such steps.
Having been a part of the National Team setup since her U-17 days, Manisha is one who has gotten used to staying away from home for long camps. However, moving to a new country is an entirely new ballgame, something that the 20-year-old is also coping with.
“The one thing that I already miss is Indian food, but those are the sacrifices one has to make as a professional footballer anyway,” she said.