Manisha Kalyan makes her CV richer with new Champions League record
While Manisha was involved in three strikes, Apollon's complete dominance helped them thrash the North Macedonian outfit Ljuboten 9-0 in the UWCL Qualifiers.
Manisha Kalyan's reputation as one of India's finest footballer elevated further on Tuesday when she added a new “first” in her already rich CV. Coming on as a second half substitute for Apollon Ladies FC in an UEFA Women's Champions League (UWCL) encounter, the girl from Hoshiarpur, Punjab, made not one, two, but three assists, making her the first Indian to achieve the feat in the elite European competition.
While Manisha was involved in three strikes, Apollon's complete dominance throughout the regulation 90 minutes, plus the injury time, helped them thrash the North Macedonian outfit Ljuboten 9-0 in the UWCL Qualifiers.
Apart from the history that Manisha etched on Tuesday, she is also the first Indian woman to score in the AFC Women’s Asian Championship, the first Indian – male or female – to play in the UEFA Champions League, and the first to win a first-division title in Europe.
These are some notable mentions on Manisha's illustrious CV, achievements that the 21-year-old proudly says "she deserved”.
"When I first got a chance to play in Europe, I was extremely happy and I've really worked hard for that.
“Also the things that I've achieved so far were my goals and it doesn't end here,” the forward had told hindustantimes.com in an exclusive interview last month.
However, all was not the same for Manisha when she first arrived in Cypriot last year. She felt her English was not as good as it is now, making language a major hurdle in her initial days. The forward, who operates in the left flank, is confident of more positive things to happen.
“I was very new, didn't really talk much to other players because I was not very fluent in English but it has improved now. I also did very few training session with the team. However, gradually the bond between me and the players and coach improved and I'm confident of me and our side doing positive in the Champions League,” said Manisha.
Can India women football team qualify for World Cup before men?
The Indian women team is much higher ranked than their male counterparts and many feel they have a better chance of advancing to the World Cups on merit before men. Manisha also feels this could well be the case. Justifying her claim, she cited the example of the AFC Asian Cup last year, where India had to withdraw due to a Covid blast inside the national camp.
"We have played against bigger teams and produced good results. And when we were preparing for AFC last year, we were in such a good rhythm. We were confident to meet any opposition, and the exposure to Brazil was extremely crucial as things started taking a turn for good from there.
“However, after Covid we are taking some time because it was a huge blow for us. We were hopeful that this year we can qualify and we were let down with what happened. But this is part and parcel of the game, and I believe that the women's team will qualify much quicker than men,” said the forward.
Manisha, who is currently engaged with club commitments is also part of India's plans for the Asian Games, which gets underway later this month.