Mumbai: Indian national team captain Sunil Chhetri was Saturday declared 'AIFF Player of the Year' for the third time in four years while Bala Devi has been declared the 'Woman Player of the Year'.
Sandesh Jhingan, who played for Kerala Blasters FC in the Indian Super League (ISL), was declared the 'Emerging Player of the Year'.
Chhetri was chosen the winner on basis of votes from Coaches from I-League clubs, according to an All India Football Federation (AIFF) release.
Bala Devi scored 16 goals to help India retain the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) women’s crown in Islamabad. The 24-year-old would be presented Rs.1 lakh besides a trophy.
Chhetri, who had also won the award in 2013 will be presented a prize of Rs.2 lakh besides a trophy. This is his third award for him in four Years and fourth overall. In the process, he overtook I.M. Vijayan’s feat of winning it three times.
"It’s humbling to be awarded the prestigious Award for a record fourth time. I’ve said this before and reiterate that while the accolades and awards may be fulfilling, it is the love for doing what I do best that keeps me going," Chhetri said.
"There are some great names in the list who have received the award earlier and winning it for the fourth time makes me feel proud. If you look at the list there have been many whom I have been lucky to play along with and there have been some whom I have always looked up to during my school days."
The 30-year-old said that this award will motivate him to improve his game.
"It means a lot to me. It’s an inspiration to further improve and meet the responsibilities and expectations which come along it. That all the Coaches found be competent to receive the Award is a huge honour for me."