After completing the transfer from ATK Mohun Bagan to HNK Sibenik, Sandesh Jhingan will become the first Indian international football player to participate in the Croatian league Prva HNL. Voted as India’s Footballer of the Year last month, the 28-year-old is already in Croatia and saw his home win against Hrvatski Dragovoljac on Sunday. HNK Sibenik CEO Francisco Cardona (Francisco Cardona) said: “We look forward to his good performance, because we follow him on different platforms, where we can see his past performance.”
“Although we know the adaptation process might take him a few weeks, we are confident that with his quality and leadership, he will become an important member of the team.
“He made a very good impression on the staff and fans of the club when he was watching the last home game from the stands. He showed passion and energy for the team,” Cardona added.
Jhingan was excited to have the opportunity to move to HNK Sibenik in the Prva HNL in Croatia.
“I think I am at a stage of my career where I really want to test myself in the highest-level possible and I think this is the perfect platform for me. As I have said, it has been my desire to play in Europe and I have taken up this challenge upon myself,” the top defender said.
“A big thank you to the head coach Mario Rosas and the owners and management for giving me the opportunity to come here. I cannot wait to get going and look forward to giving 100 percent at every given opportunity,” Jhingan added.
Founded on December 1, 1932, HNK Sibenik returned to the premier division last season under a new management. The club finished sixth in the league, just two positions below qualification to European competitions.
The club is located in Sibenik, the Dalmatian region of Croatia, a city with breath-taking fortresses protecting it for centuries and a beautiful Cathedral of St. James, included on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
“We are very happy that Sandesh is with us. We know he will help us achieve the goals that we have set for ourselves during the season. His stint here will help him grow as a player and person,” said HNK Sibenik coach Mario Rosas.
The Spanish coach was all praise for Jhingan’s decision to move out of his comfort zone.
“We hope that he will continue to be an example for Indian footballers. He has demonstrated his ambition and competitiveness by wanting to get out of his comfort zone and show what indian footballers are capable of,” said Rosas.
Jhingan started his youth career at St. Stephen’s Football Academy in Chandigarh and got a break in the top division with United Sikkim in 2011.
Sandesh, as a young 21-year-old footballer first broke into prominence during the inaugural edition of the Indian Super League (ISL) when he was adjudged the Emerging Player of the League in 2014.