GUWAHATI: Mizoram chief minister Zoramthanga on Monday has raised the issue of Indian national team striker Jeje Lalpekhlua being sidelined for the Arjuna Award.
His reaction came days after the Mizoram Football Association (MFA) has sought a clarification from the Union sports ministry on why ace striker Jeje was denied of the prestigious Arjuna Award despite being nominated by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) on three separate occasions in the past.
Expressing resentments, Zoramthanga in a tweet asked Union sports minister Kire Rijiju: “Shri @KirenRijiju ji, due respect to past & future awardee of the prestigious #arjunaaward; I stand with the people of #Mizoram in their dreams, their contribution towards the upliftment of the #IndianFootball, the pain felt by a sidelined recognition we all yearned #FactsMatter.”
The CM also shared a factsheet detailing how Jeje deserved the award. The factsheet also compared Jeje’s performance with two other popular footballers of the country Gurpreet Singh Sandhu and Sandesh Jhingan.
The factsheet said that Jeje has earned 56 caps for the Indian national team, scoring 23 goals and he is second only to Sunil Chhetri in the national scoring charts among active players, it said.
MFA earlier in its letter to the sports ministry said, “He (Jeje) is currently ranked 6th on the all-time scorers’ list. Gurpreet Singh Sandhu and Sandesh Jhingan, who both have earned worthy acclamation through their storied careers, have both earned 38 and 36 caps respectively.”
The 29-year-old footballer is currently in his hometown of Hnahthial in Mizoram. He told media that he was shocked by the development.