ISL transfer news: Sandesh Jhingan to stay with Kerala Blasters until 2023
Kerala Blasters captain and Indian national team centre-back Sandesh Jhingan has signed an extension with the club which will keep him till the end of the 2022-23 season. The club announced the same via social media but did not mention the term of the contract.
Sandesh Jhingan has been an instrumental part of the Kerala Blasters setup since the inaugural 2014 season. Then only a 20-year-old, Sandesh won the ISL Emerging Player of the season award with his rock-like figure helping the club reach the final. Since then, he has made a total of 76 appearances in the competition, the most by any player.
In the 2015 season, he played only 10 matches but had a staggering passing accuracy of 84.13%. He also conceded lesser fouls but Kerala Blasters finished at the bottom of the table. In 2016, Sandesh started all of Blasters' matches but missed out on lifting the trophy by losing to eventual winners ATK over penalties.
The next season, he was entrusted with the captain's armband but a poor start due to Rene Meulensteen's mismanagement meant they only finished sixth in the points table. Under his leadership in the 2017-18 season, Kerala Blasters finished in the last but one position only ahead of Chennaiyin FC who finished in single digits.
After failing to guide Kerala Blasters to the playoffs for the past two seasons as the captain, Sandesh Jhingan would be raring to accomplish the task this season. His other duty would be to help new signings Rahul KP and Lovepreet Singh acclimitise quickly to the Kerala Blasters setup.
Nongdamba Naorem and FIFA U-17 World Cup goalscorer Jeakson Singh are expected to make the jump from the 'B' team this season. It would be great for them to have a senior national team figure like Sandesh Jhingan to look for motivation.
The buzz around the Indian football fraternity was that Jhingan would move to ATK at the end of this season. Jhingan had, in fact, rejected a big money move to ATK even during the 2017-18 season to be loyal to Blasters.
Kerala Blasters released a promo early on Saturday with a couple of fans hinting at the 'wall' staying back at the club for the next season.
With this extension though, his stature among the Blasters' fans is sure to elevate to the status of a legend.