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2019-20 AIFF Player of the Year and AIFF Emerging Player of the Year Awards announced

2019-20 AIFF Player of the Year and AIFF Emerging Player of the Year Awards announced
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (L top), Sanju Yadav (R top), Ratanbala Devi (L down), Anriudh Thapa (R down)

Indian NT, Bengaluru FC goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu and Indian NT, Gokulam Kerala FC midfielder Sanju Yadav have been declared winners of the men’s and women’s 2019-20 AIFF Player of the Year award respectively.

The Emerging Player of the Year for the 2019-20 season were won by Anirudh Thapa and Ratanbala Devi for the men’s and women’s categories respectively. While Indian international Ratanbala Devi currently plays as a forward for KRYPHSA FC, Anirudh Thapa plays as a midfielder for the National Team and is currently with ISL side Chennaiyin FC.

There was always a desire to reach this point and this is an Award which I have always looked up to. Chhetri-bhai (Sunil Chhetri) has won it so many times and I have always thought when I can be worthy enough to win it.

Huge thanks go to AIFF and everyone who has supported and helped me relentlessly to help me achieve this today.

Garnering the all-important draw against Asian Champions Qatar in Doha, 11 clean sheets in last Hero Indian Super League edition, winning the Golden Glove award could not have been possible without the team.

A big thank you to all Hero Indian Super League and Hero I-League club coaches who have thought I’m worthy of receiving this award. I’ll try my best to live up to the expectations.

Gurpreet Singh Sandhu to AIFF Media

The 28-year-old custodian was also felicitated with the Arjuna Award last year in 2019. Gurpreet is the second goalkeeper to win the Player of the Year award after Subrata Pal.

While the winners for the men’s categories were declared after votes by ISL and I-League coaches were pooled together, the women’s awards were selected by Indian Women’s NT Head Coach Maymol Rocky in consultation with AIFF Technical Director Isac Doru.

The women’s AIFF Player of the Year Sanju Yadav had an exceptional season in the 2018-19 Indian Women’s League helping Gokulam Kerala FC reach the semi-finals.

Personally, it’s a big milestone for me. This Award is the proof that all the hard work that we have been doing over the last few years has indeed paid off.

I would like to thank AIFF for all the exposure that we have got to grow and to improve ourselves. I’d also like to thank the seniors in our team. All of them have been an immense help to me and have helped me cope with the rigours of international football.

I’d also like to thank Maymol ma’am for allowing me the time and the opportunity to grow within the team and express myself on the pitch.

Sanju Yadav to AIFF Media

The Emerging Player of the Year awardees Ratanbala Devi and Anirudh Thapa were understandably elated with the honour. For Thapa, it is the second Emerging Player of the Year award after winning it first in 2017-18. Ratanbala Devi won the Most Valuable Player for her performances in the 2019-20 Indian Women’s League helping KRYPHSA FC reach the final.

This is a happy moment in my life, indeed. I’ve seen some of my teammates bag this award in the previous years, and it is really nice to win it myself this time round.

The way our team has grown over the last couple of years is simply phenomenal. I would like to thank the AIFF, my coaches and all my teammates for helping we win this award.

This will provide further motivation for us to push ahead in the future.

Ratanbala Devi to AIFF Media

This news is a breath of fresh air for me and my family especially whatever we have witnessed so far in this year. I would like to thank AIFF, all my teammates and coaching staff to help me achieve whatever I could.

We have garnered some fantastic performances at the club front as well as for the National team last year but we need to push harder to raise the bar and we can surely do that.

The fact that I was voted by coaches from the clubs makes this all the more special.

Anirudh Thapa to AIFF Media


  • 2019-20 AIFF Men’s Player of the Year: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu
  • 2019-20 AIFF Women’s Player of the Year: Sanju Yadav
  • 2019-20 AIFF Men’s Emerging Footballer of the Year: Anirudh Thapa
  • 2019-20 AIFF Emerging Women’s Footballer of the Year: Ratanbala Devi
  • 2019-20 AIFF Award for the Best Assistant Referee: P. Vaira Muthu (from Tamil Nadu).
  • 2019-20 AIFF Award for the Best Referee: L. Ajit Kumar Meetei (from Manipur).
  • Award for the Best Grassroots Development Programme: West Bengal (based on E-licence courses and Golden Baby Leagues)


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