Sunil Chhetri and Ashalata Devi bag top honours at AIFF Awards

Indian men's football team captain Sunil Chhetri and women's footballer Ashalata Devi were awarded the AIFF Player of the Year awards by the All India Football Federation on Tuesday.

Sunil Chhetri won the men's Player of the Year award for the third consecutive year.   -  V. Sreenivasa Murthy

Indian men's football team captain Sunil Chhetri and women's footballer Ashalata Devi bagged the top honours at the All India Football Federation's AIFF Awards on Tuesday.

Chhetri was named the men’s footballer of the year, while the title in the women’s category was won by Devi.

The Bengaluru FC and India skipper, who scored a brace in India's loss to Tajikistan in the opening match of the Intercontinental Cup, won the award for the third consecutive year.

Chhetri, with 70 goals for India, is also the second-highest active international scorer — only behind Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo.

“The fact that this was voted by the Hero I-League and Hero ISL Coaches makes it all the more special. I am grateful to my club members, coaches, fellow players, the national team staff, and the fans for their support, love, and affection,” Chhetri said, after he was declared the winner.

“I never play for Awards. But yeah, it feels nice when your hard work gets recognized. This is an added motivation to do better.”

Kerala Blaster's Sahal Abdul Samad won the emerging player of the year award in the men’s category whereas Manipur’s Dangmei Grace won the emerging player of the year in the women’s category.

The full list of awards are as follows:

  • Best Grassroots Development Programme: Jammu & Kashmir Football Association

  • AIFF Award for the Best Referee: R Venkatesh from Tamil Nadu

  • AIFF Award for the Best Assistant Referee: Joseph Tony from Karnataka

  • AIFF Emerging Women’s Footballer of the Year 2018-19 Dangmei Grace from Manipur

  • AIFF Emerging Men’s Footballer of the Year: Abdul Sahal from Kerala

  • AIFF Women’s Footballer of the Year: Ashalata Devi

  • AIFF Men’s Footballer of the Year: Sunil Chhetri