The young full-back recently made her national team debut.

Odisha FCW have completed the signing of promising Indian women’s national team full-back, Arifa Zaheer to add speed and stability in defense. The Juggeranuts have signed the exciting young IWNT defender on a two-year deal. The Mumbai-based player was recently called up to her first Blue Tigresses camp for the WU-23 3-Nations tournament versus Sweden and USA, making her national team debut in a win versus Swedish club, Eskilsminne IF.

Born in Mumbai, the 24-year-old was an avid sportsperson from a young age growing up in Saudi Arabia & Kuwait. More inclined toward Athletics and Basketball initially, it wasn’t until she moved back to India for her junior College that she was introduced to a boys’ football club named Milan FA in Navi Mumbai to keep goals for the team. Arifa never thought of pursuing the sport as a career, but her love and passion for football grew as the years passed.

She worked harder at her game and got her breakthrough with Football Leaders Academy in the MDFA League in her first IWL Qualifier. She was adjudged the Best Defender in the MDFA League and awarded Best Defender in the Inter-District tournament. That paved her way into the Maharashtra State team for the Senior Nationals.

Stints with Joga Bonito CFCI and Kenkre FC saw her being scouted to represent Sethu FC, where she came into her own in her second year at the club under current OFC Women’s team coach Crispin Chettri. She scored her first goal for Sethu in the Qualifiers, before ending the season as runners-up in the final round of the 2022 Indian Women’s League.

“I am excited to meet my new teammates, train with the team and experience new challenges. I’m looking forward to lifting the title this season.”, expressed Arifa on signing with the Juggernauts.

“Arifa’s reply to my message welcoming her to the club was “Let’s have a winning season”, and that is exactly the sort of champion’s mentality we want in all our players. She’s a very talented player and I believe we may have brought her to the club at the most opportune time in her career.

“We hope she finds great success with the team and many more National team call-ups with us,” said Randeep Baruah, Head of Academy & Women’s Football.

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