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AIFF Awards winners of 2019-20 season

AIFF Awards: Gurpreet Singh
Picture Source: Twitter

AIFF Awards are presented to the standout performers of the 2019-20 season by All India Football Federation. All India Football Federation announced the winner names on official website on friday. Here’s the complete list and glance at the winners of AIFF Awards.

AIFF Women’s Emerging Footballer of the Year

Ms Ratnabala Devi

Nongmaithem Ratanbala Devi plays for Madurai-based Sethu FC in the Indian Women’s League. The 20-year-old Manipuri midfielder considered as one of most exciting prospects in Indian women’s football right now. She naturally plays as striker but national team coach Maymol Rocky utilized her as a midfielder.

N Ratnabala Devi scored 7 goals in 7 appearances for Sethu FC since joining the club. She’s also the joint third-highest scorer in the history of IWL with 25 goals in three seasons including 3 hat-tricks. Ratnabala Devi got the maiden national call-up for India’s campaign during 2018 AFC Women’s Asian Cup Qualifiers in 2017. After scoring two goals in six appearances in two years, she became a regular member in first team. Ratnabala Devi scored whopping 8 goals in 17 appearances for the national team in 2019 to make her overall count of 10 goals in 23 appearances.

Ratanbala Devi expressed her happiness through words, “This is a happy moment in my life, indeed. I’ve seen some of my teammates bag this award in the previous years, and it is really nice to win it myself this time round. The way our team has grown over the last couple of years is simply phenomenal. I would like to thank the AIFF, my coaches and all my teammates for helping we win this award. This will provide further motivation for us to push ahead in the future.”

AIFF Women’s Footballer of the Year

Sanju Yadav

Sanju Yadav plays for Gokulam Kerala FC in Indian Women’s League and hails from Alakhpura, Haryana. The 22-year-old midfielder already won AIFF Women’s Emerging footballer award back in 2016. Sanju Yadav got this prestige through the votes of national team head coach Maymol Rocky and AIFF Technical Director Isac Doru.

Sanju played IWL 2016 preliminary round with Alakhpura and scored 11 goals to help home team to qualify for next round. She scored goal on her international debut against Bangladesh in 2016 South Asian Games. India defeated Nepal in finals of that tournament and Sanju won gold medal with two goals in two starts. She became regular member of first team in 2019 after three years of dedication and scored eight goals in 18 appearances that year.

Sanju said, “Personally, it’s a big milestone for me. This Award is the proof that all the hard work that we have been doing over the last few years has indeed paid off. I would like to thank AIFF for all the exposure that we have got to grow and to improve ourselves. I’d also like to thank the seniors in our team. All of them have been an immense help to me and have helped me cope with the rigours of international football. I’d also like to thank Maymol ma’am for allowing me the time and the opportunity to grow within the team and express myself on the pitch” to AIFF.

AIFF Men’s Emerging Footballer of the Year

Anirudh Thapa

AIFF Awards: Anirudh Thapa
Picture Source: Twitter

Doon boy Anirudh Thapa plays for Chennaiyin FC in Indian Super League. The 22-year-old central midfielder already won this award back in 2017-18 season.

Thapa made 20 appearances for Chennaiyin FC in 2019-20 season. He played pivotal role scoring one goal and six assists as Chennaiyin finished season as runners up. Thapa has fond of representing national side as he represented India in U-14, U-16, U-17, U-19, U-23 and senior level. Thapa started 10 games for national team and scored twice against the same opponent Thailand. Both goals came in famous victories, first in AFC Asian Cup 4-1 group stage match and second in King’s Cup third place match.

“This news is a breath of fresh air for me and my family, especially whatever we have witnessed so far in this year. I would like to thank AIFF, all my teammates and coaching staff to help me achieve whatever I could. We have garnered some fantastic performances at the club front as well as for the National team last year but we need to push harder to raise the bar and we can surely do that,” Thapa quipped. “That fact that I was voted by coaches from the clubs makes this all the more special.”

Also read: UEFA Super Cup 2020: Super sub Javi wins it in extra time for Bayern

AIFF Men’s Footballer of the Year

Gurpreet Singh Sandhu

‘The Great Indian Wall’ Gurpreet Singh Sandhu plays for Bengaluru FC in Indian Super League and serves as vice captain of national team. The 28-year-old goalkeeper holds the record of first Indian to play in top division European club and competition. Sandhu was adjudged with Arjuna Award in 2019 for his contribution in Indian football.

Bengaluru FC reached semifinals in 2019-20 season and GSS claimed Golden Glove Award. GSS kept record breaking 11 clean sheets in 19 appearances in 2019-20 season. Sandhu made 9 appearances for national team and kept clean sheet against Qatar in memorable encounter. Sandhu started that match as captain of Indian side and stole the show with impervious performance.

“There was always a desire to reach this point and this is an Award which I have always looked up to. Chhetri-bhai has won it so many times and I have always thought when I can be worthy enough to win it,” Gurpreet said. “Huge thanks go to AIFF and everyone who has supported and helped me relentlessly to help me achieve this today” he added. “Garnering the all-important draw against Asian Champions Qatar in Doha, eleven clean sheets in last Hero Indian Super League edition, winning the Golden Glove award could not have been possible without the team.”

“A big thank you to all Hero Indian Super League and Hero I-League club coaches who have thought I’m worthy of receiving this award. I’ll try my best to live up to the expectations,” Sandhu expressed his feelings to AIFF.

AIFF Award for the Best Referee

Mr. L. Ajit Kumar Meetei from Manipur.

AIFF Award for the Best Assistant Referee

Mr. P. Vaira-muthu from Tamil Nadu.

AIFF Award for the Best Grassroots Development Programme

West Bengal, based on E-licence courses and Golden Baby Leagues.

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