Manisha Kalyan becomes first Indian to play in UEFA Women’s Champions League

Manisha Kalyan (right) is the second player from Gokulam Kerala to sign up for an international club.

Manisha Kalyan (right) is the second player from Gokulam Kerala to sign up for an international club. | Photo Credit: Twitter (@IndianFootball)

Striker Manisha Kalyan became the first Indian football player to play in the UEFA Women’s Champions League when she made her debut for Apollon Ladies FC in the European Club competition in Engomi, Cyprus.

Kalyan replaced Cyprus’ Marilena Georgiou in the 60th minute at the Makareio Stadium, as Apollon Ladies FC beat Latvian top flight club SFK Rīga 3-0 in their UWCL opener on Thursday.

The 20-year-old had emerged as the fourth Indian women’s international football player to sign for an overseas club when she landed a multi-year contract with Cypriot top division winner Apollon Ladies. Kalyan had played well for the national team and Gokulam Kerala in the Indian Women’s League (IWL).

She was awarded the AIFF Women’s Footballer of the Year for the 2021-22 season.

Kalyan had shot to fame last year when she scored against former World Cup runner-up Brazil in its own den during an international friendly. She is the second player from Gokulam Kerala to sign for an overseas club after Dangmei Grace joined Uzbek outfit FC Nasaf.

Apollon Ladies will next play FC Zurich Frauen on August 21.

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