Indian and Mohun Bagan striker Jeje Lalpekhlua has bagged AIFF’s inaugural ‘Player of the Year 2016’ Award . The striker from Mizoram had a wonderful season with Mohun Bagan and Chennaiyin FC as well as with the Indian national team. He was presented a prize purse of Rs 2.5 lakh along with a trophy, AIFF president Praful Patel declared at the annual general meeting here in the Capital on Wednesday in front of the national team and coach Stephen Constantine.

“This year has really gone great for me. This award is another motivation for me to reap more in the future. I won’t get bored receiving this award year after year,” Jeje said.

“It’s the award which every Indian player aspires to win. It feels great and I am thankful to all my coaches,” Jeje said in an AIFF release. “I am also immensely grateful to AIFF because their support made this journey possible. The academy in Goa under Colm Toal laid the platform for me and so many others to dream,” he added.

“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.”

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Thanking his teammates he said “I have been very fortunate to have an amazing bunch of players around me, right from Mohun Bagan to Chennaiyin FC to the national team.”

Sasmita Malik was adjudged the 2016 AIFF Woman Footballer of the Year. The Odisha-based footballer will receive prize of Rs 2 lakh besides a trophy. AIFF also feted Gurpreet Singh Sandhu and Uvena Fernandes with Awards for Special Recognition. They will be bestowed upon Rs 1 lakh and a trophy each. Gurpreet represented Stabaek FC in the Europa League, first Indian to feature in a Europa League fixture whereas Uvena Fernandes is the first Indian Official to officiate in a World Cup final match. She officiated the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2016 final in Jordan. Sunil Chhetri, who is India’s most prolific striker ever with 53 goals in 93 matches received a special award for surpassing the milestone over the last year.

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