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Indian Football

Yumnam Kamala Devi announces retirement from football

Published at :February 2, 2022 at 10:43 PM
Modified at :December 13, 2023 at 1:01 PM
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(Courtesy : Instagram/yumnam_kamala)

Waseem


She is regarded as a legend for her exceptional contribution to women’s football in the country.

Former India international Yumnam Kamala Devi has announced her retirement from professional football. She draws the curtains on a fabulous career, having won several domestic and international honours. Football fans across the country will definitely miss her presence on the pitch. Kamala was part of India's squad for the AFC Women's Asian Cup 2022, but did not make an appearance in the only game they played.

She took to social media to announce her decision on February 2, 2022 (Wednesday). Her heartfelt message read, “First of all I would like to thank my parents and my loving Edomcha. Then I would like to thank Oja Biren who taught me how to play football at the grassroots level which made me the footballer I am and helped me fulfill all the wishes that I had. I would also like to thank my respected local brothers who guided me and supported me throughout my career.”

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“Last but not least, I would like to thank all my coaches and teammates at various levels whether playing for India, Railways, Manipur State and various clubs,” she further wrote. 

The numbers behind her greatness

The 29-year-old made 36 appearances for the senior national team, scoring 33 goals in the process. Hailing from the football-rich state of Manipur, Kamala Devi recently played for Gokulam Kerala in the Indian Women’s League, winning the competition in 2020. In the past, the midfielder represented the Railways team at the Senior National Championships. She also had brief spells with Eastern Sporting Union and FC Kolhapur City, winning the IWL with the former after scoring 15 goals in 10 games. 

Owing to her sensational skill-set, Yumnam Kamala Devi played a vital role in India’s multiple wins in the SAFF Championships. Furthermore, she was part of the team that secured gold at the South Asian Games in 2010 and 2016. The All India Football Federation (AIFF) graced her with the Women’s Footballer of the Year Award in 2017. 

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A legacy like no other

Yumnam Kamala Devi is a strong advocate of women’s football in India. She has earlier indicated a willingness to contribute to the sport even after retirement. Boycotting the Indian national team, alleging discriminatory behaviour towards her was a difficult time in her career. Despite all the obstacles, Kamala Devi never gave up and was a part of the Indian team, which was contesting the 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup.

While the fans will continue to remember her as a player, the day is not far when Kamala Devi might be back on the sidelines or working with young players for the development of women’s football. 

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