SHILLONG, July 26: The fourth ZoFooty Awards was all about I - League Second Division and Mizoram Premier League (MPL) Season 3 champion Aizawl FC as they went home with all the three awards. Aizawl FC captain David Lalrinmuana won the player of the Year Award, K. Malsawmkima was the Coach of the Year while defender Lalthakima won the Young player of the Year Award. All the Award winners were member of the 2015 National Games football gold medal winning team.
The fourth ZoFooty Awards was held on the night of July 23, 2015, at Hotel Regency and was sponsored by Samsung 3:16 Plan Solution. The Expert Group (40%), fans (40%) and MPL3 clubs (20%) had their vote accordingly and the nominees were players and coaches who ply their trade in Mizoram.
Player of the Year - David Lalrinmuana, the lad from Zemabawk North, Aizawl had won the Player of the year award way back in 2012, which happened to be the first ZoFooty Awards. He became the first player to win the Player of the Year award twice. He was in-form last season as Aizawl FC cruised to win the MPL - 3 as well as I - League second division under David's captaincy. He also won the National Games gold medal. David Lalrinmuana had the highest vote from the expert group, fans and MPL clubs and was quite ahead of the other nominees Lalramchullova (Aizawl FC), William Lalnunfela (Aizawl FC) and new season Aizawl FC's loanee form Mizoram Police Lalbiakhlua.
Aizawl FC captain David said, "First of all, I give thanks to God who blessed me to win this award for the second time. I would also like to thank my family who always support me in my career. I would like to thank my teammates and coaching staffs from Aizawl FC and my teammates in the Mizoram team. They only made it possible for me to be here tonight. Thank you to Aizawl FC family and fans, MFA, Zonet family and all the fans who cast their vote for me. At last but not the least, I am deeply thankful to ZoFooty for this opportunity and wish them all the best fot the future."
Coach of the Year - K.Malsawmkima K. Malsawmkima is from Leitan, Aizawl and he was nominated in 2013 and 2014 for this award. Before the start of the 2014-2015 season, he left MPL- 2 runners up Luangmual FC for Aizawl FC which turned out to be a hugely successful move. They went on to reach the Independence Day Football Tournament 2014 final but lost to Dinthar FC. But under his guidance Aizawl FC won the MPL and I-League second division and Mizoram were the National Games champion. K.Malsawmkima, like David, received the highest vote from all the three groups - expert group, MPL clubs and the fans. H. Vanlalthlanga (former Chanmari FC coach), the new Chanmari FC coach HC Zarzoliana and Lalramchuana (Armed Veng) were far behind him.
Aizawl FC coach K. Malsawmkima said, "This award is a blessing from God. The players made it possible for me. I would like to thank Mr. Robert for trusting me to manage a great club like Aizawl FC. I would like to thank Mr. RC Khuma (L) and his wife as they were the first people who introduced me to coaching. They made me who I am today. I would like to celebrate football that gave me so much, the reason why I am here with you."
Young Player of the Year (YPoTY) – Lalthakima Khawzawl is from Khawzawl Vengthar (Champhai District) Lalthakima. He was nominated for the first time and won the award for having a great season. Even though he is a youngster, he got many opportunities and played an important role in the senior team. He became a very important Aizawl FC defender and helped them win MPL, I-League second division and the National Games for Mizoram. He was called up to join the India U-19 camp. Chanmari West FC winger Vanlalbiaa Chhangte received the highest vote from the MPL Clubs but Lalthakima got the highest vote from both the fans and as well as the Expert Group. Young Player of the Year nominees also included Aizawl FC winger Brandon VL Remdika and Chanmari FC forward K. Lalchhanhima.
Aizawl FC defender Thakima said, "First I would like to thank God for guiding us to finally have the awards (ZoFooty Awards) and to also win it. And also thank my grandparents who always support and back me up - Mr. H. Lianzuala amd Mrs. Romawi, parents and family and Mr. Lalhriatrenga and his family who gave me accommodation here in Aizawl. Aizawl FC family, coaching staffs and the players really made it possible for me to win this award. I thank all those who vote and gave support for me. At last but not the least, I would like to thank the award organisers ZoFooty with all my heart."