Allwyn George, Lenny Rodrigues, Zoheb Amiri and Derrick Pereira stepped on stage to receive applause and awards at the Football Players Association of India function to honour outstanding performers for 2012-2013 season. A video message from Nigerian striker Ranti Martins was played on screen at the ceremony, held in association with the Bombay Gymkhana on Thursday.
Pallan Arrows midfielder, George, was named Young Player of the Year and received the award from actor Abhishek Bachchan and AIFF president, Praful Patel. He represented India junior and senior squads in the same season and was an outstanding player in the AIFF Development team competing in the I-League. The fifth FPAI awardees were chosen after voting by fellow players competing in the I-League.
Lenny Rodrigues of Churchill Brothers FC was voted the Best Indian Player, ahead of CB team-mates Sunil Chetri, Rahim Nabi of Mohun Bagan, Clifford Miranda (Dempo SC). The 26-year-old creative midfielder from Goa played his part in Churchill Brothers’ win in I-League under coach Subhash Bhowmick.
Nigerian forward Ranti Martins of Prayag United in Kolkata was chosen Best Foreign Player. He topped the scoring charts in I-League for the third consecutive season and conveyed his delight at the verdict from fellow players via a recorded video. Carlos Hernandez (Prayag), Beto (Churchill), Douhou Pierre (Pune) and Chidi Edeh (East Bengal) were other nominees on the shortlist.
Pune FC former coach, Derrick Pereira, finished ahead of four nominees for Best Coach award. He guided the Pune side to a best-ever second place finish and is now with Salgaocar SC. Other coaches in contention were Bhowmick (Churchill), Arthur Pappas (Pallan Arrows), Santosh Kashyap (ONGC) and Trevor Morgan (East Bengal).
Zoheb Amiri of Mumbai FC got the maximum votes from fans and was named Fans Player of the Year. Other awards presented were Best Organised Venue to United Sikkim’s home ground, named the Paljor stadium in Gangtok. Football enthusiast and actor, Abhishek Bachchan, informed that proceeds from an exhibition match involving actors planned in Kolkota will be given to FPAI for welfare of older footballers.