Sunil Chhetri awarded 2017 AIFF Player of the year, Kamala Devi gets the Female Player of the Year Award
What's the story?
The All India Football Federation (AIFF), the governing body of football in India named India and Bengaluru FC Captain Sunil Chhetri as the AIFF Player of the Year in the Federation's Executive Committee Meeting today in Mumbai. The meeting was chaired by AIFF President Praful Patel.
In case you didn't know...
Several AIFF Dignitaries along with FSDL Representatives were present in the Meeting. Chhetri scored 20 times for the Blues of Bengaluru in 26 appearances across the Indian Super League (ISL), Super Cup and AFC Cup in the 2017-18 season. Chhetri scored 7 goals in 16 appearances for the Blues in the I-League 2017 before they made the jump to the cash-rich Indian Super League.
The Secunderabad born Striker has previously won the AIFF Player of the Year on four occasions prior 2018. He won it in 2007, 2011, 2013 and 2014.
The Heart of the Matter
AIFF's announcing Sunil Chhetri as the 'AIFF Player of the Year' of 2017 does come as a surprise as he has been phenomenal for the last 15-16 months. Chhetri has scored consistently for India and Bengaluru FC in crunch occasions when the teams were struggling to make a mark on the pitch on certain occasions.
Sunil Chhetri's terrific performance in the Intercontinental Cup is deemed to play a key factor in the committee awarding him his 5th Player of the Year Award. Chhetri scored 8 goals in 4 matches for India including a hat-trick against a down-trodden Taiwanese Side.
The All India Football Federation has announced several other awards as well in the Meeting today. While Kamala Devi bagged the 2017 AIFF Woman Player of the Year, Anirudh Thapa and E Panthoi were adjudged the 2017 Emerging Player and the 2017 Woman Emerging Player of the Year respectively.
The complete list is as follows :
2017 AIFF Award for Best Grassroots Development Programme: Kerala FA.
2017 AIFF Award for long-time contribution to Indian Football: Hero Motocorp.
2017 AIFF Award for Best Assistant Referee: Mr. Sumanta Datta (Assam).
2017 AIFF Award for Best Referee: Mr. CR Srikrishna.
2017 AIFF Emerging Woman Footballer of the Year: Ms. E Panthoi.
2017 AIFF Emerging Player of the Year: Mr. Anirudh Thapa.
2017 AIFF Woman Footballer of the Year: Ms. Kamala Devi.
2017 AIFF Player of the Year: Mr. Sunil Chhetri.
With East Bengal continuously being linked to a possible Indian Super League entry, several more meetings are expected to take place with the requisite stakeholders.
As for Sunil Chhetri, he is with Bengaluru FC in Bengaluru undergoing his pre-season training with the Blues. He will take the field for Bengaluru FC in the AFC Cup Interzone Semi-Final 1 1st Leg against Iranian side Altyn Asyr in the Kanteerava Stadium, Bengaluru on 22nd August.
Will Sunil Chhetri continue his brilliant form in the upcoming season as well? Or do we have a few emerging players taking over the Indian Football Circuit? What's your take? Comment below.