‘Courage to take that decision makes you a winner’: Sandesh Jhingan says ‘no regrets’ on move to Croatia
The center-back is currently training with ATK and Jhingan is grateful to the club for the immense faith they've shown in him.
Sandesh Jhingan's ambitious move to Croatia's top-tier club HNK Sibenik was not fruitful as the India defender or his fans would have anticipated. Two days after landing in the country the 28-year-old was injured, the first of the many setbacks, and barely after four months he drew curtains on his Croatian sojourn, following which he reunited with his former club ATK Mohun Bagan.
Jhingan, who is arguably India's best central defender at the moment, however, has “no regrets” and instead chooses to draw inspiration from the experience.
“It was okay, everything in life is an experience. When I decided to go there I wanted to go out of my comfort zone so I knew where I was heading. I spoke with the coach about how I can learn from the Croatian players and help the team, it was productive. I got injured on the second or third day, that was unexpected."
"But I have no regrets about how it went there because I had given everything. Many times no matter how hard you work, no matter how big your plans are, if it's not gonna happen, it's not gonna happen,” Jhingan told Hindustan Times in an interview.
The 28-year-old defender also remains unfazed about criticism, if any, regarding his stint at the European nation, explaining “the courage to step up and take that decision makes you a winner in a lot of ways instead of not trying and talking about it.”
'I'm happy to be back'
Jhingan is currently occupied with ATK in the ongoing Indian Super League (ISL) and is grateful to the club for the immense faith they've shown in him.
“I'm happy to be back. When there was a change in management and the coach left in Sibenik, I decided with my family that I think I should come back now to fix this injury. I wanted to start playing quickly because we had important national games coming up. ATK Mohun Bagan were very supportive even after the ACL,” said India's number 5.
The Mariners are placed fifth on the points table with 20 points from 12 matches. The teams above them are Hyderabad FC, the leaders, followed by Kerala Blasters, Bengaluru FC, and Jamshedpur FC and the five are currently in a neck-to-neck tussle with very little gap between them.
As the tournament moves to its business end, Jhingan said: “I think it's very tight, all teams are looking very competitive this year, which is very great for Indian football. Our (ATK Mohun Bagan) target of course is to win the league and the cup, so we're working hard about it.”
Earlier this week he penned a new partnership with popular sporting brand Adidas, and the footballer feels that both share a common vision, which is to lift Indian football.
“We hold the same vision, to improve Indian football, to take it to a higher level. Adidas has been doing it for a long time, especially what they did in Kashmir. That was pretty good with Real Kashmir. We have a common vision,” he said.
Jhingan, who initially played the sport with a tennis ball back in Sector 22, Chandigarh, hails his brother Saurabh as one of his footballing icons. He was named India's footballer of the year in 2021 and had previously won the Emerging Player of the League in the inaugural season of the ISL.