Preeti Kulung Rai – The Remarkable Debut and Journey in Nepali Women’s Football

Preeti Kulung Rai, a promising young Nepali midfielder, made a remarkable debut for Nepal’s national women’s football team in a friendly match against Bangladesh at Dasharath Stadium on 9 September 2021. At just 16 years old, Rai showed her skills and made an immediate impact by scoring a stunning goal in the 22nd minute. The goal, assisted by Saru Limbu, was an incredible shot from outside the box that left spectators in awe.

Rai’s outstanding play earned her the Player of the Match honor, marking her as a rising star in Nepali women’s football. Additionally, she received NRs 25,000, sponsored by the Nepalese football supporters group, Hamro Football Nepal. September 9, 2019, became a day Rai will never forget. It was when her dream of succeeding in the national team came true. This special day shows how determined and strong Rai is. It reminds her of the hard work she put in to reach her goals.

Preeti Rai awarded Player of the Match and NRs 25,000 in her debut match for Nepal, as captured in this image.

Preeti Rai’s Debut: A Rising Star’s Journey in Nepali Football

Her debut for the senior national team marks a big moment in her career. Looking back on her journey, she admitted that getting into the team was just the start. “I used to think making it in was the biggest thing,” she remarked. “But I learned that the real challenge is performing consistently well,” she added, understanding the need for sustained excellence.

Rai’s exceptional skills and dedication earned praise from national team coach Garry Phillips, cementing her status as a rising star in Nepali football. Rai’s debut match was a momentous occasion not just for her but also for her family. Her mother, beaming with pride, was present to witness her daughter’s remarkable performance. As Rai receives the Player of the Match award, pride fills her, and immense joy envelops her mother, who is gleeful to see her daughter’s hard work and talent recognized on such a grand stage.

Preeti Rai: A Journey of Determination to Nepal’s National Team

Rai’s journey to the national team has been one of determination and perseverance. Growing up in Kapan, Kathmandu, she faced many challenges and discouragements. People often told her, “girls don’t play football.” Despite these obstacles, her passion for the game never faded. Inspired by the women’s national team, Rai continued to pursue her dream with unwavering commitment. Encouraged by a supportive comment from a fellow player, she remained dedicated to her goal.

Rai took on the captain’s armband for Nepal during the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) U15 Women’s Championship and also led both the U18 and U20 national teams. Despite being shortlisted for the 2019 SAFF Women’s Championship and the 2019 South Asian Games training camps, she narrowly missed out on making the final squad. She came close but ultimately did not make the final cut. But her persistence finally bore fruit when she made a spectacular debut for the senior national team, netting an impressive goal against Bangladesh at Dasharath Stadium.

Rai’s talent was evident from her school days, where she shined in tournaments. Joining the Nepal Youth Programme Club at 11, she committed herself to intense training. Her dedication paid off, leading her to captain the U15, U18, and U20 national teams.

Also Read: Preeti Rai’s Inspiring Journey to Success: Rising Football Sensation

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