Lyngdoh eager for more success

Football : Medio is AIFF Player of the Year; Devi best among women

Lyngdoh eager for more success

He was one of the one the vital cogs in Bengaluru FC’s set-up last season. Sending in darting balls from tight angles, skimming past his marker to score sublime goals, getting the best out of a dead ball situation; these are a few things Eugenson Lyngdoh would do at will.

Having signed off a spectacular season with Bengaluru FC, which saw him score eight goals and come up with 16 assists, Lyngdoh on Sunday was named the AIFF Player of the Year. “It’s unbelieveable. I still can’t digest that fact that the Federation has named me the player of the year,” said an elated Lyngdoh.

“I am thrilled and excited. Really don’t know what to say. This will motivate me to work for more success,” he added.

The 29-year-old, bought from Shillong Lajong in 2014, went on to become a mainstay in the Bengaluru set-up in his first season itself. He first helped his side clinch the Federation Cup and later took the club agonisingly close to their second I-League title.

“I had a really good first season with BFC. I was among the goals and was setting up chances too. And I even improved on my set-piece attempts,” he remarked struggling hard to hide his excitement on being named the recipient of the highest honour by the AIFF.

“I am lucky that I get to play alongside some the best players in India. The credit goes to them as well. I have developed a lot since joining BFC. The coaching staff here too has been exceptional. Ashley (Westwood), Pradhyum (Reddy), Malcolm (Purchase) and Ali (Uzunhasanoglu), they have done a lot to make me the player I am.”

The year also saw Lyngdoh realise his long cherished dream of playing for the national side. Called up for India’s World Cup qualifier tie against Nepal in March, Lyngdoh has then become coach Stephen Constantine’s reliable force in the middle. “It’s being a crazy year. First with BFC and then the national team call up. I wanted to make sure that I give my best. And I am happy that I could do that,” he added.

While Lyngdoh grabbed the top honours in men’s football, Indian women’s team skipper Bala Devi was once again named the women’s player of the year.

A prolific striker who has the credit of scoring 16 goals in five games at the SAFF Women’s Championships in 2014, Devi said that she felt great to recieve the award for a second year in a row. “Winning the first award in 2014 was so satisfying and I knew retaining it would be a challenge. But I am happy that I could repeat it,”  she remarked.

Awardees: Player of the year: Eugeneson Lyngdoh. Woman’s footballer of the year: Bala Devi. Emerging player of the year: Pritam Kotal. Emerging woman footballer of the year: Pyari Xaxa. Best grassroots development programme: Football Association of Odisha. Long time contribution to Indian football: Coca Cola. Best referee: CR Srikrishna. Best assistant referee: Sapam Kennedy.

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