As they say, ‘The goalkeeper is the lone eagle, the man of mystery and the last defender’ and India’s No. 1 Gurpreet Singh Sandhu has never let this qoute down.
His top notch heroics for the Indian National team as well as for the Blues of Bengaluru won him the AIFF men’s player of the year for the 2019-20 season. Gurpreet Singh Sandhu becomes the first National team goalkeeper to win the prestigious award after ‘India’s Spider Man’ Subrata Paul who won the award back in 2009.
Gurpreet has won this award on the basis of votes made my the Hero ISL and I-League coaches.
Sandhu’s finest performance came in while the donning the national team colours against the defending champions of Asia, Qatar in the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers away from home back in September 2019. India’s Number 1 led the blue tigers in a tie that was the toughest they would face in the qualifiers and Gurpreet did not let the boys feel the absence of their skipper Sunil Chhetri and displayed an absolute masterclass of goalkeeping as well as his leadership skills.
The Great wall of India made his National team debut in 2011 after representing the youth national teams of U16 and U19. The beginning of his career saw him turn up for the Reds and Gold’s East Bengal and Pailan Arrows. Gurpreet Singh Sandhu holds the record to be the only Indian Professional Footballer who has featured in the Elite European Championship UEFA Europa league for Norwegian club Stabaek FC against Quay Nomads FC in Wales in 2016.
He was then bought by debutants Bengaluru FC for their first Hero ISL season on a one year deal and later signed a 5 year contract extension with the blues. The year 2019 saw Gurpreet join the elite list of footballers to win the Arjuna award and became the 27th footballer to feature in that list.
“There was always a desire to reach this point and this is an Award which I have always looked up to. Chhetri-bhai (Sunil Chhetri) has won it so many times and I have always thought when I can be worthy enough to win it,” Gurpreet said. “Huge thanks go to AIFF and everyone who has supported and helped me relentlessly to help me achieve this today” he added. “Garnering the all-important draw against Asian Champions Qatar in Doha, eleven clean sheets in last Hero Indian Super League edition, winning the Golden Glove award could not have been possible without the team.”
“A big thank you to all Hero Indian Super League and Hero I-League club coaches who have thought I’m worthy of receiving this award. I’ll try my best to live up to the expectations,” he concluded.
We wish Gurpreet Singh Sandhu all the very best for the future. May you keep destroying the strikers. Good Luck Gurpreet Singh Sandhu.