National men's team captain Sunil Chhetri was today presented with All India Football Federation's 2014 Player of the Year award.
Chhetri was voted the winner by I-League coaches and this was the fourth time he received the award having earlier won it in 2007, 2011 and 2013. In the process he surpassed the legendary IM Vijayan who won the award thrice.
Busy with his club commitments with Bengaluru FC in the ongoing I-League, Chhetri could not turn up at the AIFF Awards Night at the FICCI House and Shanta Gopinath, national teams manager, received it on his behalf.
In his video message, Chhetri thanked all his coaches, teammates and support staff for making him what he is today. Besides the trophy, Chhetri pocketed a prize of Rs 2 lakh.
National women's team striker Bala Devi, who scored 47 goals in 2014, including 18 in international matches, was presented with 2014 AIFF Women's Footballer of the Year.
An elated Bala thanked AIFF and President Praful Patel for the support and dedicated the award to her teammates, coaches and family.
"This Award belongs to them as much it belongs to me. I, thank AIFF for the recognition and this motivates me to do better," she said.
Besides the trophy, Bala received a prize of Rs 1 lakh.
Sandesh Jhingan, the 2014 Emerging Player of the Year, also could not be present due to his club commitments with Sporting Clube de Goa in the ongoing edition of the I-League.
Besides the trophy, Jhingan received a prize of Rs 75,000.
FIFA Referee Santosh Kumar from Kerala, a veteran of over 150 domestic and 20 international matches, was awarded the 2014 AIFF Award for Best Referee.
Sappam Kennedy, also a FIFA Assistant Referee, received the 2014 AIFF Award for the Best Assistant Referee from. Kennedy, who hails from Manipur, has officiated in over 100 domestic matches.
The AIFF Award for long time contribution was presented to ONGC.
The other Award -- 2014 AIFF Award for Best Grassroots Development Programme -- was won by Western India Football Association (WIFA).