Women's football captain Bembem announces retirement

Shillong, Feb 4: Indian women's football team captain Oim Bembem Devi, who on Thursday announced that the 12th South Asian Games (SAG) in India will be her last tourment, is hopeful of retaining the top spot in the competition.

The competition begins on Friday and will be hosted by Shillong and Guwahati.

"I have been playing football for the last 21 years, and I have filly decided to hang up my football boots after the 12th South Asian Games here in Shillong, and this is the right time for me," Bembem told IANS.

However, the Manipuri spinster, 35, has no plans of tying a knot with anyone, as her aim is to first engage herself in the development of women's football in the country.

"My goal now is to promote football, especially women's football in India. I will be devoting most of my time to train junior footballers in my home state of Manipur so that they can represent India at the tiol and intertiol competitions," Bembem said.

Asked if she plans to get married after hanging up her football boots, the central midfielder said, "I have decided not to get married but decided to sacrifice my life for football. I eat, sleep and drink football, and my goal now is to train young bloods and promote football to represent India."

Bembem has been part of tiol championship-winning sides on 16 occasions with Manipur, nine times as the captain. She led the country to two South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) titles, said women's football in the country has improved with the AIFF-FIFA grassroots programme across various states. IANS

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Sentinel Assam