Panthoi Chanu becomes first Indian footballer to play in the Australian League

Imphal: In a historic breakthrough, Panthoi Chanu, the current goalkeeper for the Indian national team, is poised to become the first Indian footballer to play professionally in Australia.

Her groundbreaking achievement follows in the footsteps of Jyoti Chauhan, Kiran Pisda, and M. K. Kashmina, making her the fourth player to secure a contract abroad out of the 27 participants in the ‘Women in Sports Elite Football Trials, second edition,’ organised collaboratively by Women in Sports, the AMPL Foundation, and the Football Players’ Association of India.

Panthoi Chanu, who showcased her goalkeeping prowess in India’s recent matches against Kosovo and Hong Kong in Turkey, has inked a deal with Metro United WFC, a team competing in the South Australian Women’s National Premier League. Panthoi Chanu will represent the team until the conclusion of the season in September 2024.

The ascent of women’s football in Australia is remarkable. Not only did they host the Women’s World Cup in 2023 and advance to the semi-finals, but also, recent Matildas’ national team matches have seen record-breaking attendance, with every game sold out. This surge in support reflects the growing strength and appeal of women’s football in Australia, promising an exciting future for the sport at all levels.

The Indian goalkeeper caught the eye of Adelaide United FC during a trial, attended by head coaches from prominent teams such as Western United FC Melbourne, Perth SC, WFC Dinamo Zagreb, and Marbella FC. Following their recommendation, Panthoi Chanu found her way to Metro United WFC. This significant move not only serves as a boost to her confidence but also provides a platform for her to excel and gain valuable experience in the global football arena.

Panthoi Chanu said, “I am very happy to have signed for Metro United WFC and would like to thank the club management and Head Coach Paul Morris for putting their trust in me. I hope to do well and make my country proud.

This has been my dream to push myself to higher levels and I hope I can do justice to this opportunity.”

Paul Morris, Head coach, Metro United WFC said, “We are delighted to have signed Panthoi for the 2024 WNPL season here at Adelaide. She is a top class goalkeeper with international experience, she possesses all the qualities you look for in a goalkeeper and will be a great addition to our squad, everyone associated with Metro United is looking forward to welcoming Panthoi.”

Sanaya, the founder and director of Women in Sports said, “We are very happy as this is yet another feather in the cap of the goals we set out as WINS to uplift Womens Sports and push towards elite performances. We are sure Panthoi will be the first but not the last girl to go to Australia and this will be a groundbreaking move”

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