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Sandesh Jhingan joins Croatian top-tier club HNK Šibenik

Sandesh Jhingan joins Croatian top-tier club HNK Šibenik
Sandesh Jhingan | Source: Twitter

Indian international and former Kerala Blasters, ATK Mohun Bagan defender Sandesh Jhingan has joined Croatian top-tier club HNK Šibenik on a one-year deal with an option to extend by another year.

Born in Chandigarh, Jhingan spent his formative years at the St. Stephen’s Football Academy. The Chandigarh-based academy has also produced two-time AIFF Emerging Player of the Year Anriudh Thapa and the 2019-20 AIFF Player of the Year Gurpreet Singh Sandhu.

In 2011, Sandesh signed his first professional contract with Bhaichung Bhutia’s United Sikkim FC who were competing in the 2nd Division League. He helped them win promotion to the I-League in 2012 and left the club after they were relegated from the 2012-13 I-League in what was only their first year in the division.

After leaving United Sikkim, the centre-back turned up for the now dissolved Mumbai FC in the 2013-14 I-League following which he joined newly-minted Kerala Blasters in the ISL in July, 2014. He won the Emerging Player of the League that season and helped the Blasters reach the final where they lost to ATK.

Sandesh continued to be a constant presence at Kerala Blasters and during off-season was loaned out to Sporting Clube de Goa, DSK Shivajians and Bengaluru FC who were competing in the I-League in early 2017. The 2019-20 season was a forgettable one for Sandesh after he picked up a cruciate ligament injury while on international duty. He was ruled out for the entire season and left KBFC towards the end of the season by mutual consent.

The now 28-year-old made his national team debut in 2015 and helped the Indian team to the Hero Intercontinental Cup in 2018. He was conferred with the Arjuna Award by the Government of India in August last year for “outstanding achievement in sports.” He has been capped 36 times for the Indian NT.

After leaving Kerala and prior to the start of last season (2020-21), ATK Mohun Bagan signed the defender on a record-breaking five-year contract reportedly worth around six crore rupees. He made 22 appearances during the season and helped ATKMB reach the ISL final. He picked up the AIFF Player of the Year 2020-21 last month for his performances with ATKMB and the Indian NT. Overall, in the ISL, Sandesh has made 98 appearances.

Although tied down to a long-term contract at ATK Mohun Bagan, Jhingan had a clause in his contract that would allow him to move to a European club if an offer came along. ATKMB accommodated his request and the player expressed his gratitude in a Twitter post (see below).

Jhingan is already in Croatia and attended NK Šibenik’s home win against NK Hrvatski Dragovoljac. The side finished sixth in the league last season and are currently in eighth position (10 teams) after five matches.

I have nothing but a big thank you to say to everyone involved at @atkmohunbaganfc . The last year was my comeback from injury and it turned out to be one of my best years and it was all because of my brother like teammates and Coach @antoniolopezhabas

and his staff @alvarorosb @javierpindado13 and Coach Sanjay sen who all motivated me and pushed me to improve everyday and I will be thankful for what they all have done for me in this past year.

Mr. Goenka and all the Management Members have been very

supportive and they know although this decision means one player less for them it means one fan more for them as I will always be a fan for the way the club is run.

A big thank you to the fans who supported me who make this beautiful club what it is and all the best to the team

AFC Cup starting today and Indian Super League. ATK Mohun Bagan has a strong team and I know they will always be pushing for trophies whenever they play. #JoymohunBagan 💚❤️

Originally tweeted by Sandesh Jhingan (@SandeshJhingan) on 18th August 2021.

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