India's Loitongbam Ashalata Devi Nominated for AFC Player of the Year
Loitongbam Ashalata Devi, who won the Indian Women's League with Sethu FC, was nominated for the AFC) Player of the Year.
Loitongbam Ashalata Devi (Photo Credit: AIFF)
New Delhi: India's Loitongbam Ashalata Devi has been nominated for the Asian Football Confederation's (AFC) Player of the Year in the women's category. In the list of nominees for the AFC Annual awards that was released on Friday, it was revealed that Ashalata will be competing for the honour along with China's Li Ying and Japan's Saki Kumagai.
The nomination comes at the end of what has been a great year for Ashalata in which she led the Indian team to the second round of the 2020 Olympic qualifiers and to the 2019 SAFF Championship title. She was an integral part of the Sethu FC side that won the Indian Women's League.
Ashalata was earlier voted as the All India Football Federation's (AIFF) Women's Player of the Year for the 2018/19 season.
Li was the top scorer of the 2018 Women's Asian Cup and her goals led China to the Round of 16 of the FIFA Women's World Cup earlier in the year. Japan captain Kumagai helped her team to the Round of 16 of the World Cup and was an integral part of the Lyon side that won their fourth consecutive UEFA Women's Champions League. She was nominated for the BBC World Women's Football of the Year award.
"This really is like a dream come true for me. You never really think of these milestones when you are growing up but I'm very happy that the hard work that I've put in over the years has got recognition on the continental level," she said.
The centre-back added, "I would like to thank our coaches Maymol Rocky and Chaoba Devi for giving me the right guidance and motivation over the years. Also, the credit goes to my amazing teammates. It is an absolute privilege to lead them out onto the pitch every single match."
Head coach Maymol Rocky praised Ashalata on this honour, saying, "She really deserves this and it is a testament to the hard work put in by her over the years. I am really happy for her and for the whole team as well, who have been highlighted at continental level with this nomination."
India, along with Singapore and Hong Kong, have been nominated for the AFC President Recognition Awards for Grassroots Football (Developing) this year, having won the award previously in 2014 as well.
The nomination coincides with the launch of the Golden Baby Leagues earlier this year, which will lay emphasis on young children between ages under 6 to under 12 as they form the golden age for learning – both for girls and boys.
The final award ceremony will be held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre on December 2.
(With inputs from IANS)
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