Indian trio plays decisive roles in ZNK Dinamo Zagreb’s maiden cup title

NEW DELHI: Saturday, June 22, 2024, was a special night for women’s football in India. Three Indians – Jyoti Chauhan, MK Kashmina, and Kiran Pisda — helped their club, ZNK Dinamo Zagreb clinch the Croatian Women’s Football Cup, the club’s maiden silverware at the top echelons of Croatian football.

Kashmina, the 25-year-old midfielder from Manipur, turned out to be the cynosure of all eyes at the SRC Mladost ground in the picturesque town Cakovec, as her successful conversion broke the deadlock in the sudden death when the final match was poised to go either way.   

Dinamo’s summit clash against ZNK Osijek was a tight knot that was only undone after a penalty shootout that went down to sudden death before Kashmina calmly scored the final spot-kick to help the Croatian capital side win 5-4 on penalties after the match ended 1-1.

It was a sensational victory against a powerhouse club like Osijek, who are record 19-time champions of the Croatian Women’s Football Cup. They had been invincible throughout this season until going down to Dinamo in the final.

As a club, ZNK Dinamo Zagreb have been a haven for Indian women footballers over the last couple of seasons. It began with Jyoti and Soumya Guguloth, in 2022, and they were soon joined by winger Kiran and Kashmina, who eventually played their crucial roles in their team’s momentous triumph on Saturday.

Kashmina told , “The way we won this cup was special. Our club had never won it before, and the manner in which we won it right at the end, simply makes it all the more memorable.

“I’ve scored a few goals in the IWL as well, but winning here in Croatia, with the three of us playing an important role in the team, it really feels like we have created history for our club,” said Kashmina.

While Kashmina came on from the bench in the final, Jyoti and Kiran played the full game. Both Jyoti and Kashmina had scored one each in the quarter-finals and semi-finals, respectively.

This is the second season when ZNK Dinamo Zagreb made it to the final of the Croatian Women’s Football Cup, and it is a case of being second-time lucky. They lost the final 2-3 to ZNK Split last season. Jyoti had scored in that final but only ended up with the silver medal.

“Winning the Croatian Women’s Football Cup is a huge achievement for us all. Not only is it the first time our club has won it, but what makes this win even better is that we had lost the final last season, and now have come back to win our first title,” said Jyoti, a striker, who comes from Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh.

From an Indian perspective, we are now seeing an era in which multiple of our senior women players are going abroad to win silverware with their respective clubs. Manisha Kalyan had started things off by winning the Cypriot First Division Women’s League in 2022-23, followed by Dangmei Grace winning the Uzbek women’s league and cup double with FC Nasaf.

Also read: Probables announced for SAFF U17 Men’s Championship camp

Also read: Classic and Minerva maintain perfect record, Speed Force bag first win

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