Bembem Devi: Indian football’s unsung legend

Last Modified: Sun Oct 30 2016 17:39:25 GMT+0530 (India Standard Time)
  • 8
    years old, when Oinam Bembem Devi was asked to play in a game by boys in her locality. The short haired Bembin helped the team win the match and tournament!
  • 1991
    year when she stood in the stands watching the national women’s championship in Imphal and realized there were so many women playing football in India. That tournament played a major role in her life; she felt that if she worked hard, she too could make it.
  • 1991
    Signed with a local club, Yawa, and also made the cut on the Manipur side that travelled to Rohtak to play the sub-junior nationals. There was much opposition from her parents who wanted her to focus on her studies as she excelled in academics.
  • 15
    year old when in 1995, she stepped out in the Indian jersey for the senior side. The selection spoke volumes of the ability of a player who had never turned out for any of the junior India teams as well as her work ethic and support from family and school.
  • 1998
    Bembem was recruited as a constable with the Manipur Police. She is still employed with them despite just one promotion so far against all her achievements.
  • 2003
    handed the captain’s armband at the AFC championship qualifiers in Thailand. She went on to lead the national side on six other occasions.
  • 14
    times that she was part of the state team that won the nationals!
  • 3
    South Asian Football Federation title wins - 2010, 2012, 2014.
  • 2
    South Asian Games wins - 2010, 2016
  • 31 Dec 2015
    retired from the game, but was forced to withdrawing so she could participate in the South Asian Games 2016 held in India. India won the title.
  • 21 years
    that she has represented India, with 85 caps and 32 goals to her credit. “Thakna se koi marta nahi hai (fatigue doesn’t kill anyone),”, she recently said in an interview to Livemint.
  • 36 year old
    midfield dynamo from Manipur, Oinam Bembem Devi has NOT been awarded the Arjuna award despite all the above mentioned accomplishments.