Sandesh Jhingan joined HNK Sibenik from ATK Mohun Bagan to become the first Indian international to feature in the Croatian top-tier league Prva HNL. The official announcement was shared on Wednesday after Jhingan successfully completed his medical examinations a day before. Speaking with the media on Thursday, the 28-year-old went on to express his thoughts on the new club and how his decisions could have major impacts on Indian football.
— Sandesh Jhingan (@SandeshJhingan) August 18, 2021
Jhingan was asked to comment on the impact of ISL and how it shaped him, changing his approach towards football.
The center-back was quick to acknowledge how the Indian Super League helped in growing as a player. Calling ISL ‘ a blessing for me” Jhingan spoke about how the tournament has been a boon for him and a lot of Indian footballers.
He emphasized the exposure ISL provided him by allowing the players an opportunity to play with superstars that they have watched on TV playing in the big league. Jhingan revealed that it gave him confidence and realized that they are not untouchable.
The Indian international went on to elaborate by stating how he understood that the difference between Indian players and the superstars was not that much and how he could also get there. He also shared how the tournament started when he was at the right age in my career to make his debut before claiming to be always thankful to ISL.
Sandesh Jhingan also spoke about his decision of leaving Kolkata for Croatia despite the ISL outfit managing to feature in the AFC Cup.
He said, “It was very difficult, coz I have a lot of respect for players, owners, and fans. After my injury, the club showed so much love, respect, and faith in me. I enjoyed every second playing for them and dreamt of playing in the AFC too. However, football is constantly changing. Everyone wants to play in Europe, I wish the opportunity came later but I am happy to get the chance right now. It came at the right age for me to take up the new challenge which is why I moved.”
The All India Football Federation men’s footballer of the year also mentioned his initial impressions of the new club and how different it is from India.
“The staff, players have been really nice, they want me to do well, adapt well. The culture here is nice, people are humble who welcome you with an open heart. It has been going well. One thing I like is their investment in the youth, from 7-9 to upper levels. The project is fantastic and happy to be here.”