"It is truly wonderful to see this exhibition showcased"
Wolves Museum is hosting a first-of-its-kind timeline, documenting the history of South Asian heritage female players in Britain.
The museum, which is located within Wolves’ Molineux Stadium, is hosting the exhibition in its reception area for a week as part of the club’s first-ever South Asian Heritage Month event which took place on August 16, 2023, co-hosted with the Punjabi Wolves.
It is the first time a museum has hosted an exhibition capturing the history of South Asian heritage female players.
One of the featured players is Bala Devi, who became the first Indian woman to sign a professional football contract overseas when she joined Rangers in 2020.
Devi spent 2023 at Odisha FC.
Odisha FC president Raj Athwal said:
“Bala Devi is an Indian football trailblazer.
“Everyone at Odisha FC and across India is proud of her achievements and thrilled to see her recognised for making history when she joined one of my former clubs Rangers.
“Congratulations to everyone involved in bringing this project to life and to Wolves for hosting it in the West Midlands during the 70th anniversary season of the club becoming English champions.
“It is truly wonderful to see this exhibition showcased in the museum of one of the Football League’s founding member clubs.”
The exhibition was launched at Stamford Bridge in March 2023 following a successful pilot in West London.
It then headed to Wembley Stadium for two FA Football and Faith events.
One of the players highlighted is Derby County’s Kira Rai.
She visited the exhibition when it was at Wembley and she hopes it can capture the imagination and become a platform to improve diversity and representation in women’s football.
Rai told Sky Sports: “To feature alongside some fabulous South Asian women as part of the history of the English women’s game is a matter of huge pride for me, my family and my football club.
“We know women’s football is not as diverse as it should be, and I want to play my part to help change that.
“I hope this inspires the next generation and gives talented girls who look like me the belief that they can also make it in the game.”
West Brom’s Mariam Mahmood features in the exhibition and said it is important to highlight the history of South Asian heritage players who have graced the English game.
She said: “It’s an honour to feature in the timeline and to have my story showcased in this way.
“Education and bridging the gap in knowledge about South Asians in football remains a major issue.
“Our stories matter and I hope this raises positive awareness and encourages more children – particularly girls from South Asian backgrounds – to take up the game and enjoy playing football.”