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A Throwback on the ISL Emerging Player Award Winners

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ISL Emerging player award is presented to brightest young player who had his breakthrough season. List features many players who won this accolade and became prominent ones.

ISL Emerging player award winners list:

#1. Sumit Rathi (ISL 6)

Sumit broke into the ATK first team for 2019-20 season after successful season with reserves side. Despite starting season as backup centre back, Sumit earned Habas’ trust and went on to play 14 matches for ATK. Sumit’s inspiring journey became fairytale when ATK won ISL and he played pivotal role in triumph. He played 1170 minutes in ATK’s central defense and made 19 interceptions with 115 clearances.

Sumit Rathi ISL Emerging player award
Image Courtesy : TOI Twitter

Newly merged club ATK Mohun Bagan signed signed a 5 year contract with him after his breakthrough season, aiming to keep him till 2025. ISL Emerging player will play important role for Sumit to get first choice centre back place in ATKMB along with Tiri.

#2. Sahal Abdul Samad (ISL 5)

Sahal represented Kerala in 2017 Santosh Trophy and his performance impressed Kerala Blasters scouts. KBFC immediately offered contract and included him in reserves side. Sahal captained Kerala Blasters reserves in 2017-18 I-League 2nd division. Seven goals in 10 games for reserves helped Sahal for first team call during the same season. He ended 2017-18 season with only 2 substitute appearances for Blasters but changed the odds in next season.

Sahal got much deserved game time in 2018-19 season and made total 17 appearances out of 18 matches. He was only bright takeaway for Kerala Blasters in disastrous campaign. Sahal’s breakthrough season performance brought him accolades like ISL emerging player award and AIFF emerging player award. Since then he signed two contract extensions with Kerala Blasters and contracted till 2025.

#3. Lalruatthara (ISL 4)

Mizoram left back joined Kerala Blasters through draft after an unsuccessful loan spell with Delhi Dynamos. Lalruatthara featured in 17 games for Kerala Blasters and missed only one game due to suspension. He managed total 85 tackles which were highest by an Indian player that season. Lalruatthara extended his contract until 2021 but failed to repeat same performance again. Lost his position to Jessel Carneiro and only made three appearances in 2019-20 season.

#4. Jerry Lalrinzuala (ISL 3)

Another Mizoram boy in the list who primarily plays as left back. Jerry was scouted by Chennaiyin FC scouts during his AIFF Elite Academy days. He became instant hit due to his attacking abilities as full back. Jerry scored a freekick goal against FC Goa on 5-4 defeat in last game of the season and became youngest Chennaiyin goalscorer.

Image Courtesy : Twitter.com

Overall he won four ‘Emerging player of the match’ awards in 13 appearances and adjudged with emerging player of the season award. He is still with Chennaiyin and transformed himself into prominent Indian player of Machans.

#5. Jeje Lalpekhlua (ISL 2)

Popularly known as ‘Mizo Sniper’ was crowd favourite in Marina Arena. Chennaiyin FC signed him after his successful loan spell for Machans in 2014. Jeje made 11 appearances and scored six goals with three assists in that season and won silverware for club. He established himself as best Indian forward in ISL after Sunil Chhetri. Jeje disappeared from scoresheet after 2017-18 season, where he scored only one goal in 2018-19 season and missed whole 2019-20 season due to injuries.
Jeje announced his departure from Chennaiyin after 6 seasons and now looking for new challenges in 2020-21 season.

#6. Sandesh Jhingan (ISL 1)

Rock defender Sandesh Jhingan was inaugural winner of this award. Jhingan made 14 appearances with whopping 31 interceptions, 85 clearances and two assists that season. Kerala Blasters went on to play Finals and he got Emerging player of the tournament as reward. Jhingan is considered as best centre back in Indian team currently and widely regarded as one of best ISL defenders of all time.

Stalwart has two ISL runners up medals on his name and also captained Blasters for two seasons. He missed 2019-20 season due to injury and decided not to extend his contract with Blasters. Jhingan looking for new club and ATK Mohun Bagan, Bengaluru FC, FC Goa etc being front-runners for his signature.

Also Read: Sunil Chhetri – The Man who scored a goal in every Indian’s heart !

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