New Delhi [India], July 20 (ANI): At just 19 years of age, Manisha Kalyan has established herself as one of the key members of the Indian senior women's national team. With her being named the AIFF Women's Emerging Footballer of the Year 2020-21, the youngster stated that the award inspires her to keep moving forward together and inspire the next generation of girls.
"I used to play in school and at state-level. It was only at 15 or 16 that I realised that I can make my way up to the Indian national team. I want that the players who are younger than me they have the right exposure from the very start. Every player I interact with, I tell them that the future of Indian football is bright and getting this award can serve as an inspiration for them," she quipped.
Manisha, who has also represented India at U-17 and U-19 levels, continued: "It feels really nice to win this award. I want to thank the AIFF for bestowing this honour upon me. I have always looked to plan my career step-by-step and winning the Emerging Player Award is something that I always wanted. I hope to keep doing better from here and keep working hard to help my team."
The forward is honoured to share the spotlight with none other than Bala Devi, who won the AIFF Women's Footballer of the Year 2020-21 award, and Manisha recalled how she always idolized Bala and wants to follow in her illustrious footsteps.
"When I was just starting out, my seniors in Punjab told me about Bala-di and her game. Since then, I have always wanted to meet her and share the pitch with her. I was fortunate that I even became her room partner at a camp and I was really happy about that. I have learned so much from her and hope that I can play abroad like her if the opportunity arises," she smiled.
Manisha, who hails from Muggowal, a village in the Hoshiarpur district in Punjab, thanked her family and dear ones for their support in her journey so far. (ANI)