Midfielder Mehtab Hussain steals the limelight at FPAI awards

Kolkata: Inspirational East Bengal midfielder Mehtab Hussain won a `double` at the Indian Football Awards organised by the Football Players Association of India in a glitzy late-night ceremony on Monday.

The Indian midfielder won the `Best India Player` award before winning the `Fans Player of the Year` through online voting.

Hussain witnessed a slump two seasons back following a groin injury but he came back in signing colours last season especially under the tutelage of East Bengal coach Morgan.

Hussain was instrumental in East Bengal`s stupendous success last season in which they won the Federation Cup, local league and finished runners-up in I-League.

The magical midfielder thanked Morgan for bringing the best out of him.

"I thank my coach for playing me in the creative position in midfield. I also thank my teammates. I thought I could not play anymore because of this groin injury but my wife supported me fully. I thank the Almighty and then you fans for supporting me all these years," he said.

Bhaichung Bhutia, who is the FPAI president, could not attend the function because of bad weather in Gangtok.

"Because of bad weather, I could not make it to the event. But I wish the event all the success," he said in a message.

Bhutia`s national jersey was auctioned at the programme as it fetched INR 50,000.

Indian tennis star Leander Paes, who was among the celebrities, also came forward and signed a football to be auctioned for the victims of Sikkim earthquake.

"My heart goes out to bhai (Bhaichung) and all the brothers in Sikkim," Paes said.

The awardees
Best Indian Player: Mehtab Hussain (East Bengal)

Best Foreign Player: Roberto `Beto` Mendes Silva (Dempo)

Best Coach: Karim Bencherifa (Salgaocar)

Best Young Player: Jeje Lalpekhula (Pune FC)

Fans Player of Asian Cup (online voting): Subrata Paul (Pune FC)

Fans Player of the Year (online voting): Mehtab Hussain (East Bengal).


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