The All India Football Federation (AIFF) recommended the names of India internationals Sandesh Jhingan and N. Bala Devi to the Government of India for the 2020 Arjuna Award on Saturday.
Arjuna Awards are given to honour excellence in sports by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports in India.
Sandesh Jhingan, who currently plays for Indian Super League (ISL) side Kerala Blasters FC, is a regular in the national team colours. The Punjabi defender had made his international debut in 2015 against Nepal in an international friendly match. He has appeared in 38 international matches so far in his career.
Jhingan had missed playing for Kerala Blasters in the ISL 2019-20 season due to a knee injury back in November.
Bala Devi had created history last year as she had become the first Indian woman professional footballer to play in Europe. She joined Scottish giants Rangers FC in an 18-month deal. She had also become Rangers’ first Asian international footballer.
Bala is the current top scorer for the Indian national women’s team, having scored an impressive 52 times in 58 games since 2010. She is also the top international goal scorer in the South Asian region.
Bala also has a prolific goalscoring record at the domestic level with over 100 goals in 120 games.
Before Jhingan and Bala Devi, 26 Indian footballers have received the prestigious award in the past. Bala Devi also becomes only the second women’s footballer to win the award after Oinam Bembem Devi who had won it in 2017.