Sports Champion

KERALA BLASTER STAR

C1-Fx2OWIAAapEgSandesh Jhingan was groomed at the St Stephen’s Football Academy in Chandigarh and helped United Sikkim qualify for the I-League from the second division. He then blossomed in the top flight under the guidance of Baichung Bhutia and Renedy Singh even though the ‘Snow Lions’ were ultimately relegated. The 2013-14 season saw ‘Sandy’ on loan to Mumbai FC and he starred in some notable victories and helped them avoid relegation.
He also had short spells with Sporting Goa and DSK Shivajians in the Hero I-League. This will be Jhingan’s third season with Kerala Blasters FC after two highly successful seasons with the club. He was named the ISL Emerging Player of League in the inaugural season.
Jhingan made his senior professional debut in the I-League on 6 October 2012 in United Sikkim’s first match of the season against Salgaocar. Jhingan started the match and lasted the whole ninety minutes and scored the winning goal for United Sikkim as they won 3–2. He then scored his second goal for the club on 18 November 2012 against Sporting Goa. His goal was the only one for United Sikkim as they lost 2–1. Despite United Sikkim suffering from relegation at the end of the season and conceding a league high 63 goals, Jhingan was noticed to be a bright talent from the team. In February 2013 it was reported that Jhingan was receiving interest from Chinese League One clubs and that he would had to China for trials. However, selection into the India national team meant that Jhingan could not attend trials.
On 8 February 2015, after the 2014 ISL season, Jhingan signed with Sporting Goa on loan for the 2014–15 I-League. He made his debut for the club on the same day against Mumbai. He started and played the full match as Sporting and Mumbai drew 0–0.
Jhingan was once again retained by the Kerala Blasters for the 2016 season. In the first match of the season, Jhingan was placed at right-back as the center of defense was taken up by Aaron Hughes and Cédric Hengbart. Kerala Blasters lost the match 1–0. The next match saw Jhingan return to his preferred centerback role after Hughes left for FIFA World Cup qualification. The result did not improve as the Kerala Blasters were defeated 1–0 by Atlético de Kolkata. For the rest of the season, after Hughes returned, Jhingan stayed primarily as a right-back, earning praise for his performances for the club there which helped the Blasters reach their second Indian Super League final in three seasons.
On 12 January 2017, another I-League club, Bengaluru FC, announced the signing of Jhingan on a season long loan deal from the Kerala Blasters.
His stellar ISL performances prompted a call up to the national team and the young defender has already raked up 4 international caps.

Blog by- Shivangi Jaiswal

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