It is through the Indian Super League(ISL) that Sibenik saw my performances and signed me, says Sandesh Jhingan
The Indian defender completed his move to HNK Sibenik a top tier Croatian team, and thanked the ISL for helping him become a better player.
Sandesh Jhingan will become the first India international footballer to play in the Croatian top-tier league Prva HNL after completing a move from ATK Mohun Bagan to HNK Sibenik. The 28-year-old Sandesh will become the first Indian footballer to play in Croatia's top division league. The defender has represented ATK Mohun Bagan and Kerala Blasters formerly in the Indian Super League (ISL) and is achieving his dream to play in a top division league in Europe.
Sandesh broke through on the Indian football scene in the inaugural season of the Indian Super League, where he was rewarded as the ''Emerging Player of the League" for his performances for Kerala Blasters. Sandesh represented the Yellow Army of the Blasters until 2020, but mutually parted ways with the club and joined the new ISL team ATK Mohun Bagan FC. In his debut season with the Mariners, he finished second in the league (missed out the top spot to Mumbai City FC on the head to head) and lost the ISL final to Mumbai City FC.
The 28-year-old defender had a great individual season and received the AIFF Player of the Year 2020-21 award for his performances.
"The more I say how the Indian Super League has benefitted me, the less it is. It has been a blessing for Indian footballers, and many of them would agree to this(statement of mine). I have been a part of the I-League, it was also good but not like ISL. The ISL has given us exposure. All of having been watching the top European leagues like the Premier League, La Liga, and the Italian League, etc since our childhood days. and this league gave us a chance to share the pitch with so many players who were a part of this league. Even though they were in the latter part of their career, but just knowing their experiences has helped me a lot." said Sandesh on his the impact the Indian Super League has made on him.
"The friendlies against Iran and other teams also helped. The ISL opened many doors to us after we played the top players in the world. I am glad that the ISL started at the right time of my career. I will always be thankful to the ISL to make me a better human and a player. It is through the ISL that HNK Sibenik saw my performances and signed me." added Sandesh when he was interacting with the Indian media from Croatia.
The transfer of Sandesh Jhingan is a huge moment for Indian football, and we hope through that many Indian players get noticed by European clubs through their performances in the Indian Super League and take Indian football to the next stage.