|The winners at the FPAI awards ceremony on Tuesday: (From left) Darryl Duffy, Alwyn George, Balwant Singh, Jose Ramirez Barreto and Boithang Haokip. A Telegraph picture
Calcutta: Sourav Ganguly couldn’t help lament the lack of a players’ association in cricket. The former India captain was present at the McDowell’s No.1 Indian Football Awards presented by the Football Players Association of India on Tuesday evening.
“The players’ association is a good concept… This is something that is not recognised in cricket. This sort of a platform was tried in cricket but it never happened…
“Nice to see the AIFF backing the body… We should, however, remember that the most important thing is to perform and take the game forward,” said Sourav.
Churchill Brothers forward Balwant Singh and Bengaluru FC coach Ashley Westwood were adjudged the Best Indian Player and best coach, respectively, in the sixth edition of awards.
The FPAI also felicitated P.K. Banerjee with the Lifetime Achievement Award and former Mohun Bagan forward Jose Ramirez Barreto with a special award.
Balwant topped the Indian goal scorers list with 16 goals (12 in I-League, four in the Federation Cup and two in the AFC Cup).
Salgaocar’s Scottish recruit Darryl Duffy, who topped the I-League goal scorer’s list jointly with Sunil Chhetri on 14 goals each, was adjudged the Best Foreign Player.
It was a memorable day for Dempo’s attacking midfielder Alwyn George, who won the Young Player of the Year award for second time in a row.
Shillong Lajong’s prolific midfielder Boithang Haokip, who helped the Northeastern side to their best-ever sixth place finish in the I-League this season with six goals, garnered maximum votes to be adjudged Fans Player of the Year.
“It’s been a nice experience… thoroughly enjoyed it. I have to thank coach Derek Pereira and my teammates at Salgaocar,” said Duffy after receiving the Foreign Player of the Year award.
Governor M.K. Narayanan was present on the occasion.
Lifetime Achievement: P.K. Banerjee
Young Player of the Year: Alwyn George (Dempo)
Foreign Player of the Year: Darryl Duffy (Salgaocar)
Football ka No.1 Spirit: Jose Ramirez Barreto
Fans’ Player of the Year: Boithang Haokip (Shillong Lajong FC)
Coach of the Year: Ashley Westwood (Bengaluru FC, Absent)
Indian Footballer of the Year: Balwant Singh (Churchill)