Gurpreet Singh Sandhu 26th footballer to receive Arjuna Award
The 26-year old dedicated his award to the past and future generations of football in the country.
New Delhi: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu became the 26th footballer to receive the prestigious Arjuna Award.
Amongst goalkeepers, he is the fourth to receive the honour, following Subrata Paul (2016), Brahmanand Sankhwalkar (1997), and the late Peter Thangaraj (1967).
The 26-year old, who remains the sole Indian to debut in the UEFA Europa League qualifier, dedicated his award to the past and future generations of football in the country.
"I am very fortunate to win this award. I want to dedicate it to the seniors who made this possible for me for paving a way. This Award is for the future generations who are about to come in this path. I hope this will act as a catalyst to inspire them," Gurpreet said.
Gurpreet, who has been at national team preparatory camp since August 20 in Goa, said that his teammates were very excited, and even demanded a party from him.
"The team wanted a party. That is how they wanted to celebrate this award and I got congratulated by every one of them. I am thankful to have their support," Gurpreet said.
He was part of the All India Football Federation's (AIFF) centre of excellence in his formative years before he played for East Bengal and later moved to Norway's Stabaek FC, from where he switched colours to JSW Bengaluru FC in 2017.
He has also captained India in a 4-1 win over Puerto Rico in 2016, and helping the Blue Tigers to qualify for the AFC Asian Cup 2019, and maintained an unbeaten streak of 12 official International matches from June 2016 to November 2017.