Former Indian skipper and star striker Bala Devi returned to the women's football team after a break of four years as the 22-member national squad for the upcoming Asian Games was announced on Friday.
Bala Devi last played for the Indian team in the Kathmandu South Asian Games 2019. The experienced striker has scored 36 goals for India in 46 matches.
In 2020, Bala Devi became the first-ever Indian woman footballer to sign a contract with a European club after she was snapped up by the Scottish Women's Premier League club Rangers.
Scoring the final goal in a 9-0 victory over Motherwell Women made Bala Devi the first-ever Indian to score in top-tier European competition.
However, an ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) injury and surgery that followed cut short her time at Rangers to nine games and two goals. Bala had to undergo an extensive rehabilitation.
Three times AIFF women's player of the year, Bala made her return earlier in the year through a national camp organized in Chennai by head coach Thomas Dennerby.
Along with the experience of Bala Devi, India will be relying on the likes of current skipper Ashalata Devi, Indumathi, Anju Tamang, Dangmei Grace, Dalima Chibber, and Manisha.
In the Asian Games 2023, India is in Group B along with Chinese Taipei and Thailand.
Indian women's football squad for the Asian Games
Goalkeepers: Sowmiya, Linthoi, Shreya Hooda
Defenders: Ashalata Devi, Sweety, Sanju, Ritu Rani, Ranjana, Dalima Chibber, Astam Oraon
Midfielders: Priyangka, Anju Tamang, Indumathi, Sangita
Forwards: Dangmei Grace, Soumya, Manisha, Renu, Sandhiya, Pyari Xaxa, Jyoti, Bala Devi