By Raymond Kharmujai
Shillong, Feb 15 (IANS) India’s iconic women’s footballer Oinam Bembem Devi hanged up her football boots with a 4-0 win against Nepal in the final of the South Asian Games championship here on Monday.
Bembem made her international debut representing India in 1995 at the Asian Women’s Championships at the age of 15.
“It was an emotional moment when I took the field for the last time. My teammates fulfilled their promise to defend the title,” Bembem told IANS.
“Everybody played exceedingly well from the start and till the end of the game. This game (India-Nepal 12th SAG 2016 final) will be the most memorable in my life,” the 35-year-old, who led the women soccer team in several tournaments and won the 11th south Asian games and 1st SAFF Women’s Football championship at Bangladesh said.
“I did not feel anything when my long shot missed the bar because I did not play to score goal but collectively with the team to win,” she said.
Bembem, the shining star of India’s women football team, dedicated Monday’s victory to the All India Football Federation (AIFF), her parents and supporters who motivated her in and outside the playfield n the last two decades.
“I am leaving for Manipur tomorrow (Tuesday). I will have to spend time with the family. I have decided to coach the United Pioneer’s Club (Boy’s football team in Manipur) as well as the Youth Armature Welfare Association Club from where I started my career as a footballer,” Bembem said.
Saying that India women’s football team has a lot of talented players, the iconic footballer however, said that discipline is very much important to achieve goal in life.
“We should respect our seniors, coaches while playing inside the field. We must obey the rules of the game and should not allow emotions to control you,” She said.
India’s coach Sajid Yousuf Dar said: “Bembem has given so much to Indian football. She has years of experience. She will be sorely missed.”