In conversation with FC Goa and Kerala Blasters defender Sandesh Jhingan
On Monday, 4th of May, Mumbai’s Priyadarshini Park was the venue of a never-before-seen sporting event. Puma, one of the world’s global sporting brands, announced the start of its latest season of ‘Urban Stampede’, a unique corporate relay race, with a 100-meter sprint.
The race featured some prolific personalities, both within and outside of the sporting domain and Indians as well as foreign representatives, who featured as a part of the initiative. Some well-known sports players included former South African cricketer, Jonty Rhodes, Indian golfer, Sharmila Nicollet and Indian footballer, Sandesh Jhingan. Actress Lisa Haydon was also a participant in the race.
Post the completion of the race and other event proceedings; we had a chance to interact with Jhingan, who represents Goa FC in the I-League on loan from the Kerala Blasters FC, and he had a lot to share on the present state of Indian football and the bright learning opportunities tournaments like ISL have to offer for its future.
The ISL Advantages
In fact, 21-year old Jhingan opened the conversation by speaking about the avenues that ISL had brought forth to Indian football.
“ISL benefits Indian football. Football wasn’t glamorized in India before. We’ve (Indian footballers) learnt a lot from foreign players. Main thing is also that not many people were attending matches before, but now they do. It has great, great advantage and it is very beneficial,” he elaborated.
The centre-back spoke about his experience playing alongside and against some of the biggest names in international football.
He shared, “I learned a lot and what I learnt the most was to be consistent and how to be focused on the field. It’s very, very important to be professional on and off the field. I also learnt to play with pressure. People watching creates pressure and I learnt how play under such pressure. I hope to be better in the next season.”
When asked about his international team-mates in the Goa FC, Jhingan revealed that he had formed a good professional bonding with Cedric Hengbart, his on-field defensive partner. His excitement palpable, Jhingan added, “My defensive partner Hengbart, taught me a lot. He’s an experienced player, who’s played in the Champions League. I used to go up to him every day after training to ask whether I’d improved.”
Getting to know Sandesh Jhingan More
Jhingan also shared that former Italian and A.C. Milan defender, Paolo Maldini is his all-time favourite footballer, followed by English and Chelsea defender, John Terry.
The former United Sikkim player also voiced his opinion about the ‘Urban Stampede’ initiative of Puma.
He explained, “It’s a great initiative to help people run. Running is the most basic thing. The more you run, fitter you get. Fitter you get, you get more confidence. Every individual should run every day. Start by testing yourself on the track. Start random running and don’t limit yourself at the start. Keep challenging yourself every day. More you challenge yourself, more will you improve.”
The central defender eventually concluded the interaction with some poignant words, articulating, “Running, like everything else, needs to come from the heart and you should enjoy doing it. It’s hard when you’ve to. But, it’s always easy when you want to.”