Indian Men’s Senior National Team defender Sandesh Jhingan was named among the winners of the prestigious Arjuna Award on Friday (August 21, 2020) — becoming the 27th footballer to win the honour.
Former Indian National Team Head Coach and defender Sukhwinder Singh was also named as a winner of the Dhyan Chand Award — thus becoming the third person to receive the award for football.
Mr. Praful Patel, President, All India Football Federation congratulated Sandesh and Sukhwinder on their respective honours.
“Sandesh’s spirit and tenacity have been such a remarkable hallmark in Indian Football in recent times. You fully deserve this honour and we are extremely proud of you. Keep the Indian flag flying high. Congratulations,” Mr. Patel said.
“Sukhwinder Singh has played a key role in developing Indian football. He has been a successful coach and a player winning many laurels. My heartiest congratulations to him,” the AIFF President averred.
Mr. Kushal Das, General Secretary, All India Football Federation hailed Sandesh as a “great role model.”
“Sandesh epitomises the new generation of Indian footballers. His qualities stand out and he is a great role model for so many youngsters. He is a deserving recipient of the Arjuna Award. This is also an award of recognition for Indian football,” Mr. Das stated.
The General Secretary added: “Sukhwinder Singh’s contributions to Indian football are invaluable. Many congratulations to him.”
The Sports Awards are given every year by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Government of India to recognize and reward excellence in sports. The Arjuna Award is given for consistent outstanding performance for four years and the Dhyan Chand Award is for lifetime contribution to sports development.
Sandesh made his Blue Tigers debut in 2015 in Guwahati and since then, he has played 36 times for the Blue Tigers scoring four goals. He has also captained India on four occasions so far.
A central defender, he has played a key role in many memorable results such as winning the Hero Intercontinental Cup 2018 and the draw away to Asian champions Qatar last year.
Meanwhile, as the national team coach, Sukhwinder Singh has won the SAFF Cup twice (1999 & 2009) and it was under his leadership that India defeated UAE in 2001 in a FIFA World Cup Qualifier in Bangalore. At club level, he has been a National Football League (NFL), Federation Cup, IFA Shield and Durand Cup champion as a coach.
As a player, he made his senior national team debut in 1975 and played 22 matches for India. He also played for JCT Club and represented Punjab at the Santosh Trophy.