New Delhi: In a prestigious ceremony held on Tuesday, Lallianzuala Chhangte and Manisha Kalyan were awarded the AIFF Men’s Footballer of the Year and AIFF Women’s Footballer of the Year for the 2022–23 season, respectively. The event celebrated their outstanding contributions to Indian football and recognised their exceptional performances both at the national and club levels.
Lallianzuala Chhangte, a dynamic midfielder, emerged victorious in a tough competition, beating East Bengal’s Nandhakumar Sekar and Naorem Mahesh Singh for the coveted award. Chhangte’s achievements were certainly deserving of the honour, as he displayed remarkable form throughout the season. His exploits for the Indian national team as well as his club, Mumbai City FC, played a crucial role in securing the accolade. Chhangte showcased his skills in 12 international appearances, scoring two goals and providing one assist.
Moreover, Chhangte’s performance in the 2022–23 Indian Super League (ISL) season was nothing short of exceptional. He emerged as the highest-scoring Indian player, netting an impressive tally of 10 goals and contributing six assists in 22 appearances. His contributions helped Mumbai City FC top the league stage and advance to the semi-finals. Chhangte’s exceptional performances earned him the eighth spot in the overall ISL scoring charts for the season. This accolade makes him only the second player from Mizoram, following Jeje Lalpekhlua in 2016, to claim the AIFF Men’s Footballer of the Year title.
Meanwhile, Manisha Kalyan, a talented forward who currently plies her trade for Apollon in Cyprus, secured the AIFF Women’s Footballer of the Year award for the second consecutive season. She emerged victorious over strong contenders Dalima Chhibber and Ngangbam Sweety Devi. This recognition highlights Kalyan’s consistent brilliance and contributions to Indian women’s football.
At just 21 years old, Kalyan’s achievements are truly commendable. Having already won the AIFF Women’s Emerging Footballer of the Year in 2020–21, she has now joined the elite ranks of Bala Devi (three titles) and Bembem Devi (two titles) as one of the few Indian female footballers to win the prestigious award multiple times.
In addition to Chhangte and Kalyan, several other individuals were recognised for their outstanding performances in the 2022–23 season. Akash Mishra, the promising left-back from Mizoram, received the AIFF Men’s Emerging Player of the Year award. Mishra’s stellar performances for Hyderabad FC, which helped the team reach the ISL semi-finals, have earned him a transfer to Mumbai City FC for the upcoming season. His recognition marks him as only the third defender to receive this prestigious accolade, joining the ranks of Sandesh Jhingan and Pritam Kotal.
Furthermore, Shilji Shaji was honoured as the AIFF Women’s Emerging Player of the Year for her exceptional contributions to the Indian U-17 women’s team during the 2023 SAFF U-17 Women’s Championship. Shaji emerged as the tournament’s top scorer, netting an impressive eight goals in four matches.
The AIFF Men’s Coach of the Year award was bestowed upon Clifford Miranda, who guided Odisha FC to their first-ever trophy, the Indian Super Cup. Miranda’s instrumental role in the club’s AFC Cup qualification was also acknowledged. Priya Parathi Valappil, the head coach of the India women’s U-17 team, received the AIFF Women.