Indian men’s national football team skipper Sunil Chhetri and women’s team midfielder Manisha Kalyan were chosen as the All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) footballers of the year for the 2021-22 season on Tuesday.
Chhetri and Manisha were nominated for the award by their respective national coaches, Igor Stimac and Thomas Dennerby.
Chhetri has scored four goals from as many appearances for the national team this year, raising his international goals tally to 84 - only behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi among active footballers. This is the seventh time Chhetri has been named the men’s footballer of the year and the first since 2018.
“Sunil was our highest goal-scorer, scoring 5 goals, and also the Player of the Tournament in the SAFF Cup. Furthermore, he led from the front scoring 4 goals in 3 games in the 3rd round of AFC Asian Cup qualifiers in Kolkata. His commitment, leadership, discipline and hard work were impressive throughout bad, and good times,” the men’s team coach Stimac said.
Meanwhile, Manisha who was named the emerging footballer of the year last season, had recently signed a multi-year deal with Cyprus’ top-division side Apollon Ladies. It will be competing in the qualifying rounds of the UEFA Women’s Champions League.
“Manisha has come up with some outstanding performances for the National Team, and also her club. She has scored goals, and also assisted on a regular basis. She’s young, and still developing but has been our best player,” the women’s national team head coach Dennerby said.
The AIFF also announced Martina Thokchom and Vikram Partap Singh as the emerging players for the season.