Sunil Chhetri bags ‘Hero of the League’ award, Khalid Jamil bestowed with ‘Syed Abdul Rahim Best Coach Award’ – The coaches and captains of the respective ten teams vote for the winners.
Sunil Chhetri and Khalid Jamil
Aizawl FC scripted history by becoming the first team to win I-League from the North-East with a shoe-string budget of less than Rs 2 crore. In the individual awards of the Hero I-League 2016-17, their efforts did not go unnoticed as coach Khalid Jamil was adjudged the best coach of the tournament and was awarded the ‘Syed Abdul Rahim Best Coach Award’.
His mid-field general and captain of Aizawl FC, Alfred Kemah Jaryan was voted as the best mid-fielder of the recently concluded I-League. Interestingly, Jaryan played as a striker in the previous edition and this season under the tutelage of Khalid Jamil, he was asked to operate from an attacking mid-field position.
Runners-up Mohun Bagan find two players in the list of awardees. Debjit Majumder (MB), with 8 clean sheets was awarded the Best Goalkeeper of the season. While, his team-mate Anas Edathodika (MB), Bagan’s defensive stalwart fends off stiff competition from Aizawl’s Eze Kingsley to win the ‘Jarnail Singh Best Defender’ of Hero I-League 2016-17 award. Both of them are well deserving of the award as they have let in only 12 goals during their entire campaign. Only if they could have stopped that fateful corner going in against Aizawl, Mohun Bagan would also have scripted history by clinching the title for five times, a record currently held by Dempo SC.
Aser Pierrick Dipanda Dicka (LAJ) was the highest goal scorer of the tournament, netting 11 times in 18 outings and he received the Best Striker award.
But it was Indian captain and also the skipper of Bengaluru FC, Sunil Chhetri who received the “Hero of the League” award for his inspiring performance throughout the league. He scored seven times and remains the top scorer of Bengaluru FC along with C Vineeth.
Churchill Brothers FC Goa, who returned to the top-tier after a hiatus won the “Fair Play Award”. The ‘Best Organiser Award’ was shared by DSK Shivajians FC & Bengaluru FC. This is awarded on the basis of points after each match given by the respective AIFF Match Commissioners.