Gurpreet Singh Sandhu awarded the prestigious Arjuna Award

Gurpreet Singh Sandhu was awarded the prestigious Arjuna Award yesterday at the Rashtra Pati Bhavan, New Delhi. The sturdy goalkeeper received the award from the President of the country, Shri Ram Nath Kovind.Little did the boy from the playing fields of Mohali, Chandigarh knew that one day he will go on to achieve such success for the national team and himself. Gurpreet was born in 1992. The 27-year-old shot-stopper started his footballing career back in 2000. He joined the St. Stephen’s Academy when he was eight years old.

Soon, Gurpreet’s prowess behind the bars was noticed and he was called up for the state youth team, the Punjab U16s. He played for St Stephen’s till 2009. Sandhu’s career-changing opportunity came in the same year when he was offered a place in the East Bengal youth setup. In the year 2010, when the world was rejoicing Spain’s tiki-taka in the World Cup, Gurpreet was taking firm steps to establish in East Bengal.

His career took a flight in the same year when Gurpreet was offered a professional contract for the Calcutta giants. Being young, it was getting difficult for the budding talent to get proper opportunities with the dominant East Bengal outfit. He made 27 appearances in his 4-year term where he was once loaned out to Pailan Arrows.

But Gurpreet’s ambition was as big as his stature. He grasped a huge opportunity and signed with the Norweigan club Stabaek in 2014. He received three chances in their league games to showcase his talent for the European outfit, where he did fairly well. In the process of becoming the best, Gurpreet scripted history. Gurpreet Singh Sandhu became the first Indian footballer to play in a European top-division league. He is also the only player from India to have played in the UEFA Europa League (Qualifiers).

With the valuable experience, he came back to India to join the JSW Bengaluru FC in 2017. Ever since he joined Bengaluru, there has been no looking back. Gurpreet is a regular choice for the national team now and is considered a valuable asset to the outfit.

Sandhu became the 26th Indian footballer to receive the Arjuna Awards yesterday at New Delhi. He is the 4th goalkeeper to receive the honors – the other three being Subrata Paul (2016), Brahmanand Sankhwalkar (1997), and the late Peter Thangaraj (1967).

Gurpreet explained how excited and grateful he was to receive the award. He further demonstrated how the entire team was rejoiceful for his achievement and demanded a party from him. “I am very fortunate to win this award,” said Gurpreet. “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,” opined Gurpreet.

The Indian National Team is currently at a national camp taking place in Goa for the upcoming FIFA World Cup Qualifiers in 2020.

For Trial related updates: Latest trials updates in Mumbai Football
Also Read: India Women’s Team prepared to ‘challenge’ Uzbekistan
Also Read: India to lock horns against Nepal in SAFF U-15 Final

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