Gokulam Kerala’s post, which stated, “She will represent FC Nasaf next season. We will wish her the best! See you in Uzbekistan,” was what left the Indian football fans enthused yesterday. And why not, as Manipuri forward Dangmei Grace became only the third Indian footballer to sign a professional contract with a foreign club.
Grace has been followed by FC Nasaf of Uzbekistan since the AFC Women’s Club Championship that took place in Jordan last year. The club was interested in her because she was fast, observant of the game, and had good dribbling skills.
“It is always good to ply your trade abroad and more importantly Grace has achieved a lot playing in India. She has won the Emerging playing award & IWL twice with two different clubs. It was the right time for her to move on and we just did that,” says Ronak Dalal of Birbal Sports and Entertainment, the player agency that represents Grace.
It was evident that the 26-year-old had a bright future ahead of her when she won the Emerging Player Award in the 2018 Indian Women’s League. She later signed with Sethu FC and Gokulam Kerala in 2021, where she continued to win trophies.
Grace made her senior international debut at the AFC Qualifiers in 2013. Since then she has established herself as a regular member of the women’s national team squad.
Speaking of the Uzbekistan Super League, it kicked off last month and will run until December. In order to take advantage of this chance, Nasaf had also asked Manipur’s Department of Sports Affairs to release her and to make the necessary arrangements in order to make the move a reality.
“She will be playing in three tournaments i.e., Women’s League, Uzbekistan Cup, and a Super Cup during her stint,” the club’s general director Yusupov wrote.
“We wanted to make a successful move where she can play and receive vital experience. Uzbekistan is a higher-ranked nation and that is why the move makes sense for us. This will help her grow further and be the flag bearer for the Indian National Women’s team,” added Ronak Dalal.
Grace’s IWL career started with KRYPHSA FC. Hailing from a family of farmers in the small village of Dimdailong, she has proven how dedication can help someone achieve their goals.
Dangmei Grace landed in Karshi, Uzbekistan, at three in the morning today. The fans are eagerly awaiting her Nasaf debut as she embarks on fresh challenges in a new nation and club.