Indian football team defender Sandesh Jhingan was on Wednesday named AIFF Men's Footballer of the Year 2020/21, while midfielder Suresh Singh Wangjam was named the winner of the AIFF Men's Emerging Footballer of the Year 2020/21 award.
Both the players were voted by the club coaches.
It is the first time that the central defender Jhingan has received the Player of the Year award, having won the Emerging Player of the Year award in 2014.
"Being voted by club coaches of the ISL (Indian Super League) and the I-League as the Footballer of the Year is a huge honour. I take this award as a motivation to do better, and inspire others to follow their passion for the sport. This award comes with a huge responsibility -- not to let anyone down," said Jhingan.
Jhingan made his senior national Team debut in 2015 in Guwahati and has since gone on to make 40 appearances for India, scoring four goals. He was part of the Indian sides that lifted the Hero Intercontinental Cup in 2018 and played out a memorable draw at the home of the Asian champions Qatar in 2019.
Besides, he has captained the senior team on five occasions, the most recent being the 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 India debut earlier this year against Oman, became the latest midfielder to win the Emerging Footballer of the Year award.
A former AIFF Academy cadet, Wangjam was part of the Indian side that competed at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2017 and spent two seasons with the AIFF's developmental side Indian Arrows in the I-League. The midfielder has notched up five senior national team caps and started all three of India's games at the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers in Doha in June.