FC Goa signs India’s defensive stalwart Sandesh Jhingan

FC Goa had confirmed that it has completed the signing of one Indian football’s most well-known names and the national team’s commander-in-chief in defence, Sandesh Jhingan.

The 29-year-old centre-back joins on a three year contract and will be the third Indian international to join the FC Goa ranks this summer, following the arrivals of Rowllin Borges and Udanta Singh.

“I am happy at the chance to represent what is a fantastic football club. FC Goa have, and keep doing so many things consistently well, so to be able to contribute to that effort is something I am looking forward to,” Jhingan said after signing on the dotted line for the Gaurs.

“I am excited to link up with my new teammates, the coaching staff and learn from all of them. Needless to say, I’m excited about the prospect of playing in front of the fans of this football club, who always seem to bring a fantastic atmosphere with them to the games.”

Commenting on the signing, Ravi Puskur, FC Goa’s Director of Football stated: “We are delighted to welcome Sandesh Jhingan back to Goa, where he has previously passed through on his footballing journey. Since then, he has grown tremendously and established himself as one of the country’s top players in his position. He brings a wealth of qualities not only on the field but also in the dressing room.”

“Our search for players with a strong mentality and the ability to handle pressure led us to Sandesh. He is well-versed in navigating challenging situations, making him an invaluable asset. With his arrival, we aim to build a solid defensive unit, which forms the foundation of any successful team.

“We are excited about the impact Sandesh will make, both on and off the pitch. His experience, expertise, and leadership will contribute significantly to our collective growth and success. As FC Goa moves forward with renewed determination, we eagerly anticipate the positive influence Sandesh will have.”

One of the first names on the team sheet for the Indian national team, Jhingan has been a part of the starting XI ever since his debut in 2-0 win over Nepal in the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers in 2015.

The past weekend saw him add further laurels on the international stage as helped the national team get their hands on the 2023 Hero Intercontinental Cup where he helped India to the trophy, leading a perfect campaign at the back with the Blue Tigers not conceding once throughout the competition. The campaign also saw Jhingan earn his 50th cap for the national team.

A key figurehead in India’s 2019 AFC Asian Cup campaign, the defender also played a vital role in recent successes with the national team, with India winning the Tri-Nations Cup and the Intercontinental Cup with the Blue Tigers in 2017 and 2018, respectively.

Jhingan has been a part of the Indian Super League since the league’s first-ever season, reaching the finals on four different occasions – in 2014, 2016, 2021 and 2023. And will be hungry to get his hands finally on the coveted trophy with FC Goa this season.

Hailing from Punjab, Jhingan kick-started his professional football career with United Sikkim in 2011. Following a short stint with Rangdajied United, the centre-back emerged as one of the top picks by Kerala Blasters during the first-ever players’ draft of the ISL in 2014.

Over the next six seasons, the 29-year-old emerged as one of the most important names on the KBFC team-sheet, eventually becoming the Club’s captain.

In 2020-21, the centre-back moved to ATK Mohun Bagan, before earning an opportunity to ply his trade with HNK Sibenik in the Croatian top division the same season. The recently concluded 2022-23 season saw Sandesh Jhingan turn up for Bengaluru FC, with whom he won the Durand Cup last September.

The Blues followed that up with a remarkable campaign in the ISL, finishing as the runners-up. Leading the charts in interceptions and successful defensive challenges, Jhingan marshalled their defence and played an integral part in keeping six clean sheets, the second best among all teams after Shield Winners Mumbai City.

FC Goa will now hope that the centre-back will repeat his heroics from the last season.

News Desk

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