In what is a historic moment in Indian football, defender Sandesh Jhingan became the first Indian player to sign a contract with HNK Sibenik in Croatia’s top league.
Sandesh Jhingan’s teammates in team India were over the moon and wishes came in from all quarters for Sandesh Jhingan. He became the first Indian defender to sign a professional contract in Europe.
Indian team’s midfielder Pronay Halder, who has been an integral part of the Indian senior national team since his debut in 2015, recalled his memories of playing with Sandesh – both at the club level, and for India. In a statement from All India Football Federation (AIFF), Pronay Halder said:
“Proud of you Sandesh, Good luck. I wish you all the best. I hope you have settled down. Keep rocking.”
Sandesh Jhingan is the fifth Indian player to sign European contract in football
Sandesh Jhingan became the fifth Indian male footballer to sign a professional football contract in Europe after Bhaichung Bhutia, Subrata Paul, Sunil Chhetri and Gurpreet Singh Sandhu. Indian skipper Sunil Chhetri was also contracted to MLS club Kansas City.
Midfielder Anirudh Thapa congratulated Sandesh Jhingan on the signing and said it was a big achievement for Indian football. Anirudh Thapa exclaimed:
“Big congratulations Sandesh-paaji. It is a big achievement for Indian football – all the best. We understand that when you come back you will be an entirely different player, and it will all transpire on to us. Go out and play your game – have fun.”
The Indian senior men’s team is currently undergoing a national camp in Kolkata, preparing for international friendlies. India will play Nepal next month.
Indian team’s defender Adil Khan, who partnered with Sandesh Jhingan as a central defender for the Indian team, lauded him for being brave and taking a very brave decision. He said:
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“Congratulations Sandesh. It’s a great decision that you have taken. We are all very proud of you. You inspire us all. The youth all over the country will look up to you, try to imitate you and follow your footsteps.”