It's a dream come true for me: Uzbekistan-bound Indian footballer Dangmei Grace

The Indian striker, who scored recently against Venezuela in the Brazil tour, has signed for Uzbekistan club FC Nasaf.

PTI
Grace (in blue) has two IWL triumphs under her belt and a bronze in the AFC Women's Club Championship last year.

Known for her pace and dribbling skills, Dangmei Grace knows everything will be different and difficult during her stint in Uzbekistan, where she aspires to be a "good ambassador" of Indian football.

The Indian team striker recently fulfilled her dream of playing abroad by signing a professional contract with FC Nasaf from Uzbekistan.

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"I know everything will be different in Uzbekistan -- their playing style, the culture. I will need to adapt fast, make new friends. But I am extremely excited to bring on this new challenge and share my experiences.

"It's a dream come true for me," Grace told the All India Football Federation (AIFF) website.

"It was not an overnight dream for me. In fact, playing abroad has been a dream for long. I used to daydream a lot about this day. It's an opportunity for me to show my skills, and be a good ambassador for Indian women's football," the 26-year-old added.

Grace started her international career in 2013 and has won the South Asian Games (2016, 2019) and SAFF Women's Championships in 2016 and 2019.

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On domestic front, she joined KRYPHSA FC, and moved to Sethu FC in 2018-19 before switching to Gokulam Kerala FC in the Indian Women's League. She has two IWL triumphs under her belt and a bronze in the AFC Women's Club Championship last year.

"I want to share my experience as I have played with the national team for many years. I want to explore myself here. I have played three international matches against the Uzbekistan national team, and they are very tough," she said.

The AIFF Emerging Player of the Year in 2019 had scored a brace against Indonesia in the 2020 AFC Women's Olympic Qualifiers, and more recently, scored against Venezuela during India's tour of Brazil.

"We are all extremely thankful for the exposure tours that have made us confident as players, and also facilitated the popularity and growth of women's football in India.

"Experience in international football is paramount, and the exposure tours over the last few years have helped me immensely in my individual growth," she said.

"My message to the young girls will be, keep trying -- anything can happen if you keep believing in yourself. Whatever challenges you face please don't give up, keep trying until you reach your goal," Grace concluded.