ISL 2016 awards: 18-year-old Jerry wins Hero ISL Emerging Player of the League
Rejected twice for the under-14 India trials in Mizoram but persistent persuasion of his dream - sometimes even against his family’s wish finally paid, as the 18-year-old Jerry Lalrinzuala became the toast of Hero Indian Super League 2016 winning the competition’s Emerging Player of the League award, thanks to his consistent performances as left-back for Chennaiyin FC.
The teenager's rise to glory over the last three months for Marco Materazzi's team is a testament to his solid defensive work, as well as his marauding runs along the left wing and his clinical crosses into the box when it really mattered for his side.
Jerry Lalrinzuala's energy and youthful fervour also appeared to rub off on the ‘Super Machans’ during the team's ISL journey this year.
The other Indian player who made it to the awards list in ISL 2016, was Mumbai City shot-stopper Amrinder Singh, who won the Golden Glove award. Amrinder's sharp reflexes, positioning and vision helped Mumbai City FC to the top of the league standings this season.
Former Chelsea FC midfielder and Delhi Dynamos’ marquee player, Florent Malouda was named the Hero of the League. Undoubtedly the player of the tournament, his contribution to the Dynamos’ cause saw the team reach the semi-finals for the second consecutive year. With three goals and five assists, the Frenchman was instrumental in creating plenty of opportunities for his side.
Borja Fernandez was named the Amul Fittest Player of the League. He has been a mainstay of the Atletico de Kolkata midfield from the first edition of the tournament and was already an ISL winner before the closing of the third season, after a stupendous victory for his side in the inaugural edition. Tasked with the responsibility to captain the side this season, Borja took his team to the knockout rounds of the competition for the third successive time.
The ISL has seen a number of goals scored across the three seasons. In 2016, a season which saw many of the teams tighten up their respective defence strategies, it took a special performance from Delhi Dynamos’ Marcelinho to win the Swift Golden Boot Award. Pereira scored ten goals from the 26 chances which came his way throughout the tournament.
There were a number of contenders for the prize with a number of notable assists through the course of ISL-3. However, South African winger Sameehg Doutie, walked away with the DHL Winning Pass of the League award for his contribution to Atletico de Kolkata through the course of the league.
The NorthEast United FC home ground won the award for the Best Pitch, while Chennaiyin FC’s co-owner Abhishek Bachchan picked up the Fair Play Award on behalf of his team.