The ‘Durga of Indian Football,’ Oinam Bembem Devi became the first Indian woman footballer, and the seventh overall to be named for Padma Shri.
The awards will be conferred by the President of India at a ceremonial function at Rashtrapati Bhawan in March/April this year.
Praful Patel, President, All India Football Federation (AIFF) in his statement said, “Bembem has been a role model for Indian Football and won so many laurels for India over the years. I hope more girls draw inspiration from her and take Indian Women’s Football to greater heights”.
India is hosting the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2020. This will be the second FIFA tournament India will be hosting, after the country hosted the U-17 Men’s World Cup in 2017.
Post retirement Bembem has been transferring her knowledge as a Coach, having being part of Indian National age-group teams, and also as the club level.
Bembem also joins the elite club of Late Gostho Paul, Late Sailen Manna, Chuni Goswami, PK Banerjee, Bhaichung Bhutia and current Indian Men’s National Team captain Sunil Chhetri as Indian Footballers who won the prestigious Padma Shri Award.