India’s head coach Igor Stimac is hopeful that defender Sandesh Jhingan’s move to Europe will inspire other players to follow suit. Jhingan left the previous season Hero Indian Super League runners-up, ATK Mohun Bagan to make a move to Croatia’s club HNK Sibenik.
Stimac feels Jhingan’s performance in Croatia will bring attention to India and other players can also go to Europe and enhance their skills.
“…Others in India will follow him soon. I’m quite sure about that and it’s very important for Indian football that he does well in Croatia. He will bring attention to India,” Stimac told on the latest episode of Football United.
The 53-year old Croatian is delighted for the Indian defender but feels it is not going to be easy for Jhingan as the level of football in Croatia will be high.
“I’m so happy for Sandesh. It’s a great challenge for him and he took it with courage, he took it with his heart and his professionalism. It’s not going to be easy because the level of quality in the Croatian league is going to be very high. A lot of young talented players are coming out these clubs and they are playing in top-five leagues in Europe, so the competition will be massive for him,” he explained.
Meanwhile, Jhingan is yet to make his debut for the club as he is recuperating from an injury. Stimac added that Jhingan’s first focus should be to completely recover from his injury.
“It’s unfortunate that he has got injured and might miss 5-8 weeks of the championship. First, he needs to get fit and then start representing Indian football in Europe. He can do that only if he is 100 percent fit,” he said.
On the other hand, Jhingan had earlier revealed that Stimac played a key role in his move to HNK Sibenik. Jhingan added that the national coach did motivate him to grab the opportunity of playing in Europe.
“I did speak to the gaffer when we were in Qatar. I had received a call from my manager and he told me that this club has shown interest in you. Then I spoke to the gaffer about it and he told me the pros and cons. I have always been in touch with him. He is close to the director here [at HNK Sibenik] as well, so yes, I was always in touch with him and he gave me a lot of confidence.
“And he told me, ‘This move will help you a lot in your career, it will enhance your game.’ He was always involved in this, I always called him for suggestions,” Jhingan said after joining HNK Sibenik earlier this month.