The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has nominated national team defender Sandesh Jhingan and womens team striker Bala Devi for the Arjuna Award, general secretary Kushal Das confirmed on Tuesday.
“Yes we have decided to send Sandesh and Bala Devi’s names for the Arjuna Award,” Das told IANS from New Delhi.
“They have to fill up forms. Their nominations will be sent before due date,” he added.
Jhingan is India’s rock at the back and has matured into a top centre back in recent times. In the Indian Super League, he is Kerala Blasters’ most-capped player and has also led the country in the absence of Sunil Chhetri and also when previous India coach Stephen Constantine had experimented with the armband as part of his rotation policy.
Known for his accurate tackles and strength, Jhingan was back in the national setup for an 18-day national camp ahead of India’s 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Qatar which got postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Talking about Bala, the 30-year-old Manipur striker created history when she signed an 18-month contract with Scottish Women’s Premier League side Rangers FC, becoming the first Indian woman to play outside the country professionally earlier this year.
Bala has so far played three games for Rangers FC before the novel coronavirus reared its ugly head and forced sporting activities across the world to virtually come to a grinding halt.
Bala is the current top scorer for the Indian national women’s team, netting an impressive 52 times in 58 games since 2010, also making her the top international goal-scorer in the South Asian region.