Defender of the Indian football team Sandesh Jingan was named AIFF Men of the Year 2020/21 on Wednesday, while midfielder Suresh Singh Wangjam was named the winner of the AIFF Award for Emerging Footballer of the Year 2020/21.
Both players were voted by the club coaches.
This is the first time central defender Jingan has received the Player of the Year award since winning the New Player of the Year award in 2014.
“To be voted by the club coaches of ISL (Indian Super League) and I-League for Footballer of the Year is a great honor. I accept this award as a motivation to do better and inspire others to follow their passion for sports. This award comes with a huge responsibility – not to disappoint anyone, “said Jingan.
Jingan made his senior national team debut in 2015 in Guwahati and has since made 40 appearances for India, scoring four goals. He was part of the Indian countries that lifted the Intercontinental Cup of Heroes in 2018 and played a memorable draw at the home of the Asian champion Qatar in 2019.
He has also capped the senior team five times, the last being an international friendly against Oman in Dubai in March this year. He also received the Arjuna Award in 2020.
Twenty-year-old Suresh Singh Wangjam, who made his debut in India earlier this year against Oman, became the last midfielder to win the emerging footballer of the year award.
A former cadet of the AIFF Academy, Wangjam was part of the Indian side, which competed in the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2017 and spent two seasons with the development of the AIFF in the Indian Arrows in the I-League. The midfielder won five championships for the national senior team and started all three matches of India in the qualifiers for the World Cup in Doha in June.