Goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu and midfielder Sanju Yadav won the 2019-’20 AIFF Player of the year awards in men’s and women’s category respectively, the All India Football Federation announced on its website.

Sandhu who produced one his career’s finest performance in India’s historic 0-0 draw against Qatar won his first-ever player of the year award.

He is only the second goalkeeper to win this award after Subrata Pal won it in 2009.

“There was always a desire to reach this point and this is an Award which I have always looked up to. Chhetri-bhai (Sunil Chhetri) has won it so many times and I have always thought when I can be worthy enough to win it,” Gurpreet told AIFF’s website.

“Garnering the all-important draw against Asian Champions Qatar in Doha, eleven clean sheets in last Indian Super League edition, winning the Golden Glove award could not have been possible without the team,” he added.

Midfielder Sanju who was a regular feature for the Indian national team last year also winning the Indian Women’s League with Gokulam Kerala was adjudged as the women’s player of the year. She had won the emerging player of the year award in 2016.

“Personally, it’s a big milestone for me. This award is proof that all the hard work that we have been doing over the last few years has indeed paid off,” she said.

“I’d like to thank the seniors in our team. All of them have been an immense help to me and have helped me cope with the rigours of international football. I’d also like to thank Maymol ma’am for allowing me the time and the opportunity to grow within the team and express myself on the pitch,” she added.

Anirudh Thapa won the AIFF men’s Emerging player of the year award for the second time having won it two years ago. In the women’s category, Ratanbala Devi who starred for KRYPHSA scoring ten goals in the competition. She was also an integral member of the national team.

Full list of AIFF awards

Award Winner
AIFF Men’s Footballer of the Year Gurpreet Singh Sandhu
AIFF Women’s Player of the Year Sanju
AIFF Men’s Emerging Footballer of the Year Anirudh Thapa
AIFF Women’s Emerging Footballer of the Year Ratanbala Devi
AIFF Award for the Best Assistant Referee P Vaira-Muthu
AIFF Award for the Best Referee L. Ajit Kumar Meetei
Award for the Best Grassroots Development Programme West Bengal