Panthoi Chanu becomes first Indian footballer to join Australian League

Panthoi Chanu
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Panthoi Chanu, India’s current national team goalkeeper, is on track to become the first Indian footballer to play professionally in Australia. She recently inked a deal with Metro United WFC, a club competing in the South Australian Women’s National Premier League (SAW NPL).

This move marks a historic milestone for Indian football as Chanu will be the pioneer Indian player in an Australian League. Her tenure with Metro United will last until the season wraps up in September 2024.

This news comes after Chanu’s impressive performances in India’s recent matches against Kosovo and Hong Kong. Her goalkeeping skills have been a key factor in the national team’s success.

The Indian goalkeeper is recognized as one of the most promising talents in the nation. She has been an integral member of the national women’s team for the past six years. Furthermore, she is slated to undergo training with A-League outfit Adelaide United before kicking off her season with Metro United.

Chanu’s journey to Australia was paved with recognition and opportunities. Her standout performance at the ‘Women in Sports Elite Football Trials, second edition’ earned her a spot among the elite. Organized to provide female footballers with global exposure, these trials opened doors for Chanu, leading her to catch the eye of Adelaide United FC coaches.

Adelaide United FC took note of the Indian goalkeeper during a trial attended by head coaches from well-known teams like Western United FC Melbourne, Perth SC, WFC Dinamo Zagreb, and Marbella FC.

Chanu, a 22-year-old, who have won the Golden Glove award in the Indian Women’s League has admirably stepped into Aditi Chauhan’s shoes, demonstrating responsibility and delivering impressive performances in recent international matches.

Previously, she participated in trials for the Spanish top division, Liga F, alongside Bala Devi, a prominent star striker for the Indian team, who has consistently provided strong support to her.

Hailing from Keirak in Manipur, Chanu’s journey to the top was fraught with challenges. Growing up amidst violence in the region, she found solace and determination on the football field. Despite the lack of top-notch facilities, Chanu honed her skills with unwavering dedication, training in the humble paddy fields near her home.

Chanu’s path to success was not without obstacles. A severe injury to her right leg threatened to derail her career, but Chanu’s mental fortitude shone through. With resilience and perseverance, she reclaimed her spot in the national team, showcasing her indomitable spirit in the face of adversity.

Chanu etched her name among several Indian national team players who have played for clubs outside India, such as Ngangom Bala Devi, Dangmei Grace and Manisha Kalyan, with Manisha still playing with Cypriot side Apollon Ladies.

Paul Morris, head coach, Metro United WFC is delighted to have signed Panthoi Chanu for the 2024 WNPL season in 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,” he said.

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 women’s 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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