AIFF nominates Sandesh Jhingan, the innovative Bala Devi for the Arjuna Prize

NEW DELHI: The All-India Football Federation has focused on the central defender of the national team Sanhing Jhingan and the striker of the women's team N Bala Devi like his nominations for the Arjuna Award , rewarding them for their consistency in recent years.

Acting on the Sports ministry Under the directive to submit nominations for this year's sports awards, the AIFF had little trouble finalizing the names.

"We have decided to send the names of Sandesh and Bala Devi for the Arjuna Award keeping their consistent showings. So, it's one male and one female," AIFF general secretary Kushal Das he said to PTI.

He said that their names have been considered for the prestigious award due to their achievements and consistency in recent times.

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Jhingan, 26, who has spent his formative years playing alongside the great Bhaichung Bhutia and set piece specialist Rennedy Singh at Sikkim United, over the years has established himself as one of the top players in the Indian team only behind Sunil Chhetri .

Since making his India debut during a 2015 FIFA World Cup tie, the Kerala Blasters player with the most teams has firmly established his players on the bottom line of the Indian team.

His growth and maturity as a player so impressed former national team coach Stephen Constantine that he handed him the captaincy when Chhetri was not around due to injuries the coach was experiencing with his leadership rotation policy.

So far he has worn the captain's armband on several occasions.

For the Blasters in the Indian Super League, Jhingan has also taken responsibility as a right back.

He is known for his physical strength, his aerial ball skills and his willingness to put his body on the line.

I am lucky to be part of this team, I had recently said.

While he has always strived to maintain consistency, Jhingan was at his best during the AFC Asian Cup 2019.

Another name that has attracted attention in Indian football is Bala Devi.

Earlier this year, Manipuri, 30, created history when she signed an 18-month contract with renowned Rangers FC of the Scottish Women's Premier League, becoming the first Indian woman to play professionally outside the country.

She has played quite a bit in the top European category before the league was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bala Devi was among the leading players of the continent to join the Asian Football Confederation's #BreakTheChain video campaign, aimed at raising awareness in the fight against the spread of the novel coronavirus .