The ‘Mizo Sniper’ last played for India in the 2019 Asian Cup.

32-year-old Jeje Lalpekhlua has announced his retirement. Jeje represented seven clubs across 13 years and scored 23 goals from 56 games for the National Team. He is a 2-time Indian Super League winner with Chennaiyin FC, lifting the cup in 2015-16 and 2017-18 and winning the 2015 Emerging Player of the League.

He also has an I-League victory with Mohun Bagan, along with the Federation Cup. With the National team, Jeje won the SAFF Championship in 2011 and 2015 and the Intercontinental Cup in 2017 and 2018. The man from Hnahthial, Mizoram was named the AIFF Player of the Year in 2016.

Early career

The forward began his playing career with the Mizoram U-19 team after impressing in the Wai Wai Cup. Jeje signed for Pune FC at the age of 16, making his debut for The Red Lizards in the I-League second division. In a loan spell with Pailan Arrows, Jeje scored 13 goals in 15 games and won the FPAI Best Young Player award. He nailed down a starting spot for Pune for the 2011-12 and 2012-13 I-League seasons.

Balancing I-League and ISL

After five seasons on Pune FC’s books, Jeje played for Dempo and Mohun Bagan, before being loaned out to Chennaiyin for the inaugural ISL season, finishing as the top Indian goal-scorer. In a trophy-laden 6-year stint with Chennaiyin, Jeje scored 19 goals from 56 matches. He suffered a knee injury and missed the whole of the 2018-19 season.

Jeje had a stupendous 2016-17 for Mohun Bagan, scoring 9 goals from 31 appearances and his eight strikes helped the Mariners win the Federation Cup. He also scored 5 goals from 6 appearances for the National Team.

National team contributions

On his senior debut for the National Team against Chinese Taipei in the 2012 AFC Challenge Cup, Jeje scored his first goal and added a brace against Pakistan in his second game for the Blue Tigers. He went on to earn 56 caps, scoring 23 goals.

Jeje turned out for East Bengal in the 2020-21 ISL season, scoring a solitary goal. He is the third-highest Indian goalscorer in the ISL. Jeje was not the same player after suffering a knee injury and undergoing subsequent surgery.

A natural finisher with a keen eye for goal, Jeje carved his own path to the very pinnacle of Indian football and always delivered when it mattered most.

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