Indian national team player Dangmei Grace has created history as she became the third Indian women’s footballer to sign a contract with a foreign club. The Indian forward has joined Uzbekistan outfit FC Nasaf and is raring to make her debut for her new club next month.
Grace is known for her sensational runs down the flanks. Her ability to move past defenders with pace makes her a menace for the opposition. Her consistent performances during the AFC Women’s Club Championship in Jordan caught the eye of many people and probably that gave her the chance to pursue her career overseas. Grace’s best performance came against 3-1 win against FC Bunyodkor. Therefore given her abilities one should not be surprised to see her go overseas and get a much bigger role.
The Indian forward was astonished when she heard that an official from Uzbekistan wanted to meet her during the AFC Asian Cup in Mumbai. “When they first called, I was shocked, wondering how they acknowledged me,” Grace told TOI. The likes of Aditi Chauhan who represented West Ham United and Bala Devi who plied her trade for Rangers FC have paved the way for the youngsters to follow their footsteps and Grace has already taken her first stride and with her ability and dedication the 26-year-old is destined for greatness.
There was a slight contract issue as Nasaf wanted Grace to join them much earlier but the Indian forward had a contract to fulfill with Gokulam Kerala and had to represent them in the Indian Women’s League (IWL).
The Manipuri star understands that it will be challenging for her to live in Uzbekistan as she understands their footballing culture. She also highlighted how this is a small step towards achieving her dreams. “It’s the first step for me and this experience of playing abroad will help me a great deal. It’s challenging, but I am really excited. I need to adapt to their football culture.”
“Moving to Uzbekistan is a small step and brings me closer to achieving my dream” said Grace. “My family has supported me all along. For me, this is a great gift to give them. They’ve always backed me wholeheartedly. My mom, dad, and everyone else is very happy with this move,” added the 26-year-old.
Like every other professional footballer in India, Grace wishes to play in a higher league in Europe. “In the future, I want to move to Europe. This is a stepping stone to what I want to achieve,” she concluded.
Dangmei Grace has featured in 45 matches for India and has scored 12 goals and has been one of the most consistent forwards in the team along with Manisha Kalyan.