Mumbai, Apr 25: Mohun Bagan and India striker Jeje Lalpekhlua was today declared winner of the ‘Indian Player of the Year’ award by the Football Players Association of India (FPAI) at its annual awards function held at the Cooperage Ground here. The 25-year-old from Mizoram, who made his international debut in 2012 and came through the junior ranks, received the highest number of votes from fellow professional footballers, beating the challenge from the short list of India captain Sunil Chhetri, Bikash Jairu, David Lalrinmuana and Dhanachandra Singh, to win the coveted award.
Jeje, incidentally, was the winner of the FPAI’s Junior Indian Footballer of the Year award in 2011, AIFF Emerging Player of the Year award in 2013 and the 2015 Indian Super League Emerging Player of the League award while representing franchise outfit Chennayin FC, the eventual champions, on loan from Bagan. Nigerian striker Ranti Martins, who played for East Bengal in the I-League and for ISL runners-up FC Goa, was named the ‘Foreign Player of the Year’, ahead of four other shortlisted footballers – Sony Norde, Darryl Duffy, Katsumi Yusa and Cornell Glen. ALSO READ: Ex-footballer eyes comeback, confident of entering Bengal assembly
Manipur-born Udanta Singh of I-League champions Bengaluru FC and the triumphant team’s coach Ashley Westwood got the highest number of votes to win the ‘Young Player of the Year’ and ‘Coach of the Year’ awards, respectively. Debjit Majumder of Mohun Bagan won the ‘Fans Player of the Year’ award, but could not receive it personally because of his AFC Cup commitments with his Kolkata club. FPAI President Renedy Singh, along with the other board members of the association, were present at the awards gala at the Cooperage ground banquets.