Indian football captain Sunil Chhetri was adjudged ‘Player of the Year’ by All India Football Federation (AIFF) President Praful Patel at the Annual General Meeting held at AIFF headquarters in New Delhi on Friday.
The leading goal-scorer for India (43 goals) dedicated the award to his teammates and his former club, Churchill Brothers, “This is for all the players with whom I have played and especially for the Churchill Brothers team last year,” he said.
The 29-year-old was loaned to Churchill Brothers towards the end of the I-League in the last season helping them on their way to the title.
Chhetri also believed that India winning the World Cup (Under-17) bid will boost the game in the country. “That will make a big difference and will provide good opportunity for the youngsters, even the infrastructure will get the much required boost,” he said.
The AIFF introduced a number of new awards this year. Oinam Bembem Devi was awarded the women’s ‘Player of the Year’. She was the only recipient of the award which was last announced in 2001. Jeje Lalpekhlua (Dempo) got the ‘Emerging Player of the Year’. The best grassroots development programme went to Mizoram Football Association. Tata Football Academy was rewarded for their age-old contribution to Indian football.