AFC ASIAN CUP — Couldn’t keep emotions in check after India’s loss to Bahrain: Jhingan

Ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Bangladesh last month, India played a practice game against NorthEast United FC where Jhingan twisted his knee

ABU DHABI, 4th January, 2019: As the 2019 AFC Asian Cup nears, Sandesh Jhingan, who played an instrumental role in India’s rapid rise in the FIFA Rankings, opined that the onus is on the team to do well. Jhingan spoke to on India’s chances in the tournament, on being a footballer as well as a poet, and the toughest opponent in the group stage. He also revealed as to how he cried after watching India lose to Bahrain in the 2011 edition of the tournament.


How is the mood of the team ahead of the tournament?

SJ: We are really pumped up! The priority (during qualification) was to stay fit and be in good form before the 23 names were announced in the final squad.

Did you watch the 2011 AFC Asian Cup?

SJ: Of course I did! I was a kid then! I remember watching the game against Bahrain and I cried after we lost. We had played very well and deserved a better result. India’s performance in that tournament fueled my desire to be part of the current team and also help them qualify for the 2019 edition.

Is qualification for the second round a realistic dream?

SJ: It will be tough, but not impossible. We have to stick to our plan and perform as the coach wants us to. We have to show unity and stand out. If we do that, we can grind out the results we need.

India’s most challenging opponent in the group stages… 

SJ: UAE will be tough to play against as they are the hosts. But I believe that if any team becomes over-confident then they can be beaten. If you are prepared and focused (as a team) then you can make it tough for the opposition.

On Sandesh Jhingan the poet…

SJ: Poetry calms me down and helps me cope with the hectic life of football. Also, I try to avoid writing during games as it takes a lot of emotional effort. I avoid reading or writing poetry during tournaments.

Your chemistry with coach Stephen Constantine…

SJ: I must thank the coach for handing me my debut in the senior India team. Of course it happened only after I spent two years on the bench! Being called up was a huge moment for me! I have a good bonding with the coach and I remember our first meeting in Guwahati in 2015. The coach helped me improve on my weaknesses and I also improved as a player due to his guidance. I know what he wants from me…both as a player and as a person.


Also Read: AFC ASIAN CUP: Blue Tigers lauded by India football legend

Also Read: AFC ASIAN CUP: Blue Tigers do their bit for these special champions!

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