Sandesh Jhingan: ” Our work starts immediately after the final whistle, and we never rest on laurels.”

Jhingan

After a historic moment in Doha, where team India scripted history, the team was felicitated by representatives of the Indian Sports Centre – Embassy of India, Doha.

The Indian team had a commendable outing against a Western Asian nation since 2001, when India beat UAE 1-0. The Blue Tigers held the Asian Champions Qatar to a goalless draw, at their backyard, missing out the likes of their captain marvelous, Sunil Chhetri. There’s no doubt that this match will be scripted in the history books of Indian football.

The AIFF Media was up and close with the robust defender, Sandesh Jhingan who excerpted the following:

I always dream big, and I believe my best is yet to come. But since I made my international debut for India in 2015, this one is historic. To come to Doha, and play against the Asian champions, and take away a point from their kitty is a really big thing, I am really happy and now we have to make sure we keep our feet on the ground.

However, there’s no denying that after the Oman game there was a slight feeling of disappointment in the team. Looking back, we still feel we should have taken points from that. In such a situation, we were aware of the task in hand. We respected Qatar to the fullest — they are the Asian champions and the kind of football they play is beautiful to watch. They are a good team, have a really good coach and are in great form as well.

We headed to the Qatar match with nothing to lose. Before this game, I had a feeling that we could take something away from it. I always say ‘it’s about dreaming big, if you can dream big, you can achieve big goals.’ I am extremely proud of this team, the characters, and the personalities associated with it. They are just so big.

In the team meeting, we stuck to the basics — do the work, stay disciplined, stick to the system keeping the right mindset.

Moving on, we need to be realistic. The forthcoming matches in October and November are too crucial. If we don’t win against Bangladesh and Afghanistan and manage away points from the Oman game, this point won’t matter much. To value this hard-earned point, we need to win our other games. We are getting better as a team, and as individuals. If we keep working like this, the sky is the limit for this batch.

Sunil-bhai’s presence in the dressing room was a big miss against Qatar. He’s the leader of the team. We were feeling bad for him because I know how badly he wanted to play. But that’s life, and that’s football.

But I have always had confidence in the players around me. And when I look around, my confidence grows. Gurpreet is one of the best in Asia at the moment, and players like Udanta, Chhangte, Sahal, Brandon, Thapa Ashique are all God’s gift to Indian Football.

I need to make a special mention of Manvir. He had an exceptional game, won 80-90% headers, held up the ball very well, and gave us that breather and those flick-ons to the flanks. It’s the best I have seen him play, and that talks of the improvement in the squad.

We defended with our lives. We stuck to the basics, and Adil, Rahul, and Mandar and I backed each other up. We were together, the communication was sublime, we were solid at the back.

Nevertheless, there were some errors, and as we head back, we will review the video of the game, check how we played. That’s the specialty of this team. Our work starts immediately after the final whistle, and we never rest on laurels.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t aware that Xavi was at the stadium. If I knew I would have loved to see him. He is such a legend and it’s an honor that he was there.

The Indian team is up against Bangladesh in their forthcoming clash of the joint qualification for the 2022 FIFA World Cup and the 2023 Asian Cup on 15th October at the VYBK Stadium, Kolkata.

 

CREDITS: AIFF Media

For Trial related updates: Latest trials updates in Mumbai Football
Also Read: Asian Champions Qatar held to a goalless draw by the Indian football team!
Also Read: Stimac expects a full house in Kolkata

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