Happy to reunite at one of the best clubs in the ISL: Sandesh Jhingan and Udanta Singh

As the Indian national team battled in the SAFF Championships at the start of this month, the spotlight was on Sandesh Jhingan and Udanta Singh multiple times as the Blue Tigers emerged undefeated from Group A to head into the knockout stages.

The duo then went on to shine in the semi-finals against Lebanon and the finals against Kuwait as well, resulting in India lifting their ninth title in 14 editions of the competition to-date.

And now, twenty days later, Jhingan and Udanta have already settled well into the training camp of their new club, FC Goa. Earlier last week, they received a thunderous welcome from their new teammates as they first set foot at the Gaurs’ training ground at Salvador do Mundo, and things have looked upbeat ever since.

“It always feels good, when you’ve won something and then look to start a new challenge in your professional life. I feel good about myself and my performances and hope to continue this run with FC Goa as well in the weeks and months to come,” Sandesh Jhingan said to fcgoa.in.

“Of course, our victories would not have been possible had it not been for the whole team. We played the Intercontinental Cup (in June) followed by the SAFF Championships with a common goal in mind – winning both competitions. We pushed each other to work harder and supported each other during tough times.

“Here (at FC Goa) again, we’ll continue to do the same. There’s a lot of focus on motivating each other and working together. It makes sense, does it not – because ultimately we have a common goal – bringing glory to the Club,” the centre-back added.

Udanta Singh, a fellow-new joinee at the Gaurs and also Jhingan’s teammate for India, agreed. “When you want something together as a team and showcase your collective desire by striving hard together, it brings success. I’m glad to see that happening here in FC Goa as well. Since I joined, I’ve had so much fun in training, learning from my teammates and coaches,” he said.

‘Hungry for more success at FC Goa’

Both Indian internationals arrive at the Club as experienced players, who’ve been playing in the topmost levels of Indian football for several years. While Sandesh Jhingan debuted in the ISL in its maiden season in 2014 with Kerala Blasters, Udanta Singh followed suit when his then-club Bengaluru FC debuted in the league in the 2017-18 season.

The two of them became teammates at the club level last year, with Bengaluru FC who went on to win the Durand Cup and finish the ISL and the Hero Super Cup as runners-up.

“We’re happy to reunite at FC Goa. When you mention this Club’s name, the two things that immediately come to mind are the quality and consistency that they have displayed in Indian football over the years,” Jhingan said.

Udanta added, “I’ve also always admired FC Goa. This place has one of the best footballing cultures in the country, and the Club has passionate fans. So when my chance came this summer to sign for them, I did not have to think twice.”

“I really like how our training ground, the gym and the medical centre are all at one place. The training facilities are perfect. My new teammates and the staff at FC Goa have made this place feel like home already, though it has only been a few days since I arrived.”

Under new head coach Manolo Marquez, the Gaurs are leaving no stone unturned in their preparations for the upcoming season. With as many as nine new signings, their squad has undergone a major overhaul over the summer.

“We’re all aware of Coach Manolo’s contributions to Indian football over the past few years. I’m excited about this opportunity to work with him. The management has also shown a lot of ambition, as evident from the signings of players like Udanta, Odei (Onaindia), Rowllin (Borges) and Boris (Singh) to name a few.

“It shows that we’re all equally hungry for success, and it’s a good sign. I’m confident that we’ll enjoy a very good season,” Sandesh Jhingan concluded.

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