Sandesh Jhingan geared up for his long-awaited return
Fit-again India’s football team mainstay Sandesh Jhingan has been biding his time in lockdown to take to the field after recovering from an injury suffered in October last year which forced him to miss the entire ISL season for Kerala Blasters FC.
With the world of sport slowly opening up again, Jhingan believes that football leagues starting in different countries will provide template for the rest to the world on how to progress in post COVID-19 scenario, while welcoming FIFA’s rule change to allow five substitution as a step in right direction considering the circumstances.
Jhingan, who sustained an injury ahead of the FIFA World Cup qualifier against Bangladesh, said that lot of leagues are under pressure to wrap up the season in a short period of time and substitution rule change will surely ease some of the workload on the players.
“Under the circumstances and considering the health of the players it is a good move. In Europe, many countries will have to finish their leagues in a short amount of time, which will mean more games in shorter duration and a lot of physical work and injury concerns for the players. But I think it’s a temporary measure,” Jhingan said, who was targeting now rescheduled World Cup Qualifier against Qatar for March for return to the field.
Forced to stay indoor due to lockdown, Jhingan said he is also not averse to playing in empty stadiums if things don’t resolve by the start of the season.
“I don’t know exactly how things will unfold. Fans do provide an extra edge to the game but at the end of the day if the game has to go on behind closed doors so be it. As a footballer, you have a job to do. When you are focused in the match you hardly even notice the crowd but I don’t think I’ll mind playing in empty stadiums. We have a fan-based game where we are also seeing traveling fans in India too. Yes, fans presence does provide motivation to a player,” Jhingan said.
The footballer added that he is also willing to wait for an year if it helps in not putting human lives at risk.
“Personally, I can wait for another year to start playing if it helps in saving human life which is more important than football,” the 26-year-old added.
Jhingan who was operated upon in November added that he was lucky to have the right people around him during his recovery.
“I was in constant touch with coach Igor Stimac and wanted to join the national team in March but the situation didn’t allow that to happen. I am lucky to have found right persons be it doctors, physios and trainers who all helped me in recovery. I have been having sessions in my gym at home and have been following the national programme set for me by the team management,” Jhingan said.
A passionate writer, Jhingan has completed a collection of poems and few short stories but had to take a break from it in order to focus on rehab.
“It’s something that I have been doing passionately for the last 8-9 years now. I have a good collection of poems and few short stories also but I find the process very draining emotionally as you get attached to your characters. So, had to stop to focus on my comeback. I have completed a set but haven’t decided if I will publish it as of now or in near future,” Jhingan said.