Manisha Kalyan made her international debut for the Indian women’s national team at the age of 17 in a friendly match in Hong Kong in 2019.
Until making her national team debut, the youngster signed with Gokulam Kerala FC and played in the 2018-19 Indian Women’s League (IWL), scoring two goals. In the following season, she tasted success for the first time as Gokulam won their first IWL title.
The Punjabi midfielder believes that by launching the IWL, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) has done a great service to women’s football in India by providing much-needed financial protection to the players.
Manisha Kalyan’s Words:
“The IWL was significant for women’s football in India. Previously, there was only one Women’s National Championship, and it was the only tournament featuring women in professional football. Since there were no other competitions, it was crucial. For starters, the IWL has provided the girls with financial stability, which is critical for professional players. We’re having friendly matches against high-level teams, which helps us progress,” Kalyan said in an exclusive interview with Goal.
Kalyan won her first competitive club football trophy in 2020, but football in India was forced to suspend almost immediately due to the continuing Coronavirus pandemic. So far, no competitive competition has taken place for women’s footballers since March 2020.
The new season of the IWL was scheduled to begin in May, but a surge in COVID-19 cases in India forced the Indian FA to postpone it.
Pandemic Impact on women’s football:
“The pandemic infected everyone around the world, not just us. Since the number of cases in India is currently high, the IWL had to be canceled. Let’s wait to see what happens next.
Of course, it’s a challenge because we can’t play competitive matches. We won’t be able to determine our success if we don’t get matches. We are practicing alone. However, it has affected,” said the Indian midfielder.”
The adolescent wholeheartedly lauded Gokulam Kerala and certified them as a well-organized club. She also recalled the Malabarians’ championship-winning season.