Jeje Lalpekhlua – A milestone for the Mizo Sniper
Earlier this week, Sunil Chhetri celebrated his 100th cap against Kenya and became only the second player to score two goals in the 100th game for the national side after Germany's Miroslav Klose. But as India faced New Zealand for the 1st time since 1981, Chhetri's strike partner and India's Mizo Sniper, Jeje Lalpekhlua, who made his senior India debut in Chhetri's first game as captain, toll the field for the 50th time in national colours.
Incidentally, his first tournament for the senior national side was the 2012 AFC Challenge Cup qualification which marked the end of Bob Houghton's era as India's national team coach.
Jeje's career got off to a brilliant start as he scored in his very first game for the national side against Chinese Taipei and adding two more against arch-rivals Pakistan. He also found the equalizer against Turkmenistan meaning the Mizo Sniper had well and truly arrived, scoring four goals in his opening three games for the national side.
Let's take a look at a few numbers from the past 49 games that he has played :
Most Caps in a Calendar Year -15 (2011)
Jeje's debut year, 2011 was his most successful year in terms of appearances for the national side, appearing 15 times in national colours, his most in any year.
Most Goals in a Calendar Year - 8 (2011)
His debut year was also his most successful in terms of scoring, with 8 goals, the most that he has scored in any year so far.
Most Appearances against a side - Afghanistan/Maldives - 4
In the short span of 7 years, Jeje has faced Afghanistan & Maldives a combined 8 times.
Most Goals against a side - Laos (3)
Interestingly, he scored in India's both meetings against Laos in 2016, and his tally of 3 goals against them stands as the most number of times that he has scored against an opponent.
Matches lost by India when he has scored - 2
Jeje has been pivotal in India's success in recent years, among the 22 goals that he has scored for India, only 2 have come in losses (vs Turkmenistan & Kyrgyz Republic).