Senior Indian defender Sandesh Jhingan was named AIFF Male Footballer of the Year on Wednesday, while midfielder Suresh Singh Wangjam was selected as an emerging player for the 2020-21 season.

This is the first time the imposing center-back has received the AIFF Player of the Year award, after winning the Emerging Player of the Year award in 2014.

The winners were chosen based on votes from the coaches of Indian Super League and I-League clubs.

“I see this award as a motivation to do better and inspire others to follow their passion for the sport. With this award comes a huge responsibility: not to let anyone down, ”Jhinghan said.

Jhingan made his senior national team debut in 2015 at Guwahati and has since made 40 appearances for the Blue Tigers, scoring four goals.

He was one of the Indian teams that won the Intercontinental Cup in 2018 and played a memorable draw at the home of Asian champions Qatar in 2019.

Jhingan has captained the senior squad five times, the most recent being the international friendly against Oman in Dubai in March. He received the prestigious Arjuna Award last year.

Suresh, 20, who made his Blue Tigers debut earlier this year against Oman, was part of the Indian squad that competed in the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2017.

A former AIFF Academy cadet, Suresh spent two seasons with the AIFF development team Indian Arrows in the I-League. Known for his endurance and box-to-box play, the midfielder clinched five caps for the senior national team and started all three games for India in the FIFA World Cup qualifiers in Doha in June. .

“Congratulations to the award winners. I hope they will continue to progress more and more in the future and continue to inspire with their performances and achievements,” said AIFF President Praful. Patel.