Sandesh Jhingan might be among the biggest names in Indian football right now, but there was a time when the brawny defender was rejected by even third division clubs and he is grateful for that phase as it made him work harder.
Jhingan, who has made 36 appearances for India so far, revealed that he was rejected by a lot many second and third division clubs in Kolkata.
“It was during the starting phase of my career. Back then I was looking for clubs and I appeared for quite a few trials at a number of clubs in Kolkata – even in the second and third divisions. But I was rejected by all,” Jhingan revealed in a chat with AIFF TV.
“That is when I realised that I had to work harder in order to realise my dream,” he said.
He was eventually “picked-up by United Sikkim Football Club.
“That really was a dream come true for me. A couple of months back, I had been rejected by so many clubs in Kolkata, and now I was joking with Renedy bhai and Bhaichung bhai,” Jhingan stated.
“We used to train under coach Stanley Rozario when we saw Renedy (Singh) bhai taking some freekicks,” he recalled.
“I just felt like going on my knees and kissing his feet. When I shook hands with Bhaichung bhai, I didn’t feel like washing my hands afterwards.”
Jhingan said one of the most cherished moments of his career so far has been the one in which he wore the captain’s armband.
“There’s immense pressure when you’re captaining a nation of 1.3 billion people,” said Jhingan.
“The eyes are on you, and the stakes are high. But these are situations that I tend to enjoy a lot. There is, after all, an immense honour in wearing the captain’s armband.
“Not everybody gets the opportunity to lead a country of 1.3 billion. Perhaps when I look back, I could tell my kids about such experiences,” he continued.