India Women's National Team Legend Oinam Bembem Devi set to get Arjuna Award

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The 37-year old footballer had also had a stint at the Maldives League.

Legendary Indian footballer Oinam Bembem Devi is set to become the second female footballer to receive the Arjuna Award after the award selection committee on Thursday included her name in the list of 17 athletes recommended for the prestigious prize.

The Arjuna Awards are given by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Government of India to recognize outstanding achievement in National sports. Former national team captain Shanti Mullick was the only female footballer to have won the accolade back in 1983.

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Bembem, the industrious midfielder hailing from Manipur, first grabbed the limelight at the national level while playing for Manipur U-13 team at a sub-junior tournament and made her debut for the national team at the Asian Women's Championships aged only 15.

In an international career spanning across two decades, Bembem helped India cement its place as a regional super-power even though opportunities to face quality opponents outside the sub-continent dried out with time. She remained a pivotal part of the Manipur team that ruled the national football scene and also masterminded the nation's victory in five international tournaments. Earlier this year, she captained the Eastern Sporting Union, which won the inaugural edition of the Indian Women's League

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"Let me get the confirmed news first and only then I can give reactions," the player told Goal over phone. 

Among the Indian footballers still active, Deepak Mandal, Sunil Chhetri and Subrata Paul are the only Arjuna awardees.

 

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