Senior Women's Team
Manisha Kalyan adjudged Best Midfielder in Turkish Women's Cup
27 Feb 2024

Sruti Chakraborty
AIFF Media Team

ALANYA, TURKEY: When Manisha Kalyan walked up to receive the award of “Best Midfielder of the Tournament” at the end of India’s Turkish Women’s Cup campaign, the pain of disappointment for being pipped to the title was writ large on her face. She quietly but gracefully accepted the award and returned to her teammates.

Later, as the Indian Senior Women’s Team were returning to the hotel with the runners-up trophy after the narrow 0-1 defeat against Kosovo, Manisha opened up a bit. The first thing the former AIFF Player of the Year said was that the award wouldn’t have come without the active support of her teammates in the Blue Tigresses squad.

“I feel happy that I received the best midfielder trophy. What made me happier was that I could help my team reach this far and finish as runners-up. But it isn’t an individual triumph for me; I wouldn’t have achieved this without the help of my teammates,” she said.

Manisha felt sad that India had to surrender three points on the pitch against Kosovo despite putting up a great fight. “We played well in the match. We created enough opportunities, but unfortunately, we couldn’t convert them into goals. It was also a learning process for us. We have so many positives to take away from this match. We will use this valuable experience in our next endeavour,” she said.

Head coach Langam Chaoba Devi aired similar views on the match against Kosovo that confirmed India’s second place in the four-team competition.

Overall, my girls played well, they fought all out. But we couldn’t sustain it in the last few seconds when they scored the winner. The Kosovo number seven (Erëleta Memeti) is a very good dribbler, something we discussed in the meeting on the eve of the match. But as was the situation, she scored the only goal of the match,” said a disappointed coach.

“We had so many chances to score, but our girls were not able to convert. Yet, this runners-up title is a big thing because Kosovo are a strong side. All the credit goes to the girls because they played fantastic football throughout the tournament and had a good game today,” said Chaoba, herself a former India defender.

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