Jeje Lalpekhlua was named 2016’s AIFF Player of the Year on Wednesday, during the Annual General Body Meeting held at the All India Football Federation Football House in New Delhi.
The meeting also saw Sasmita Malik being conferred the 2016 AIFF Woman Footballer of the Year award. Jeje will be presented with a prize of Rs 2.5 lakh, while Malik will be rewarded with a prize of Rs 2 lakh.
“It never struck my mind till I got the news from AIFF. When you train or hit the ground for a match, you can’t afford to think about the awards,” Jeje was quoted as saying by www.the-aiff.com.
“Awards motivate you and it feels great when your hard work gets recognised. I am extremely thrilled about joining the elite list. If you look at the ones who have received the AIFF Player of the Year Award in all the previous years, I found out they all are my idols,” the 25-year-old added.
Jeje has had a highly successful year. He has been six goals in seven matches for the national team. He was also one of the most prolific strikers in the I-League and played a crucial role in Mohun Bagan’s run to the Round of 16 of the 2016 AFC Cup during the season, scoring six goals during the tournament.
He scored five goals in the I-League and was the top-scorer in the Federation Cup with eight goals.
National team goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu and Uvena Fernandes were handed the 2016 AIFF Awards for Special Recognition. Rowllin Borges and Sanju were named the AIFF Emerging Player of the Year and Emerging Woman Footballer of the Year.
The AIFF AGM also saw Praful Patel being unanimously re-elected as the president. All nominated persons for the posts of Executive Committee members were also elected unanimously during the meeting.