The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has nominated defender Sandesh Jhingan and women’s team striker Bala Devi for the Arjuna Award.

“We have decided to send the names of Sandesh and Bala Devi for the Arjuna Award keeping their consistent showings. So, it’s one male and one female,” AIFF general secretary Kushal Das told PTI .

Bala Devi created history earlier this year when she signed an 18-month contract with Scottish Women’s Premier League side Rangers FC, becoming the first Indian woman to play outside the country professionally.

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The 30-year-old Manipuri was among the leading players of the continent to join the Asian Football Confederation’s #BreakTheChain video campaign, aimed at raising awareness in the fight against the spread of the novel coeonavirus.

Jhingan has been nominated for the award despite being off the field for close to a yea rowing to injury. The 26-year-old spent his formative years playing alongside the Bhaichung Bhutia and Rennedy Singh in Sikkim United and has over the years established himself as one of the most important players in the Indian team.

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Since making his India debut during a FIFA World Cup qualifier in 2015, he has firmly cemented his players in the Indian team back-line. His growth and maturity as a player impressed former national team coach Stephen Constantine so much that he handed him the captaincy when Chhetri was not around due to in injuries the coach was experimenting with his rotation policy in leadership. He has so far worn the captain’s armband on several occasions.

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Jhingan has also impressed in the Indian Super League and is Kerala Blasters’ most-capped player.