Want India to dominate in Asia: Sandesh Jhingan
Sandesh Jhingan (Image credit-The Times of India)
Kolkata: The Indian national team looks to be on golden run this season and just qualified for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup after winning all four of it’s qualifying matches so far and Sandesh Jhingan, one of the country’s top defenders and also a captain wants the national team to dominate in Asia.
The ‘Men in Blue’ last qualified for the Asia Cup in 2011 but was knocked out after failing to win a single match. This time around however, the team have qualified in style, winning all of their four matches so far in the qualifiers.
“It’s a big achievement for the Country as it’s a continuous process of growth of Indian Football after the last qualification in Doha 2011,” said Jhingan, in an interaction with All India Football Federation (AIFF), before India’s next qualifier match against Myanmar, on November 14.
However, just like Sunil Chhetri had earlier observed that is not the end of the road, Jhingan also echoed the same, while also adding that he wants the Indian team to dominate in Asia.
“Our priority from now on is to improve and try to dominate in Asia as the Asian Cup provides us with the chance to play the bigger teams. To improve we need to learn the dominance and there is still a lot of work to be done for that,” said the Kerala Blasters defender.
The Indian team was lingering in the 170th rank for the most of 2016, but ever since the appointment of Stephen Constantine, in his second stint with the national team, the team has undergone a drastic change in the quality of football played, which not only saw them enter the top 100 rankings for the first time in 21 years but also are unbeaten in 12 matches, with 11 wins and just one draw against St. Kitts and Nevis and according to the lanky defender, it is because of the ‘never give up’ attitude of the players, that they have achieved such a big achievement.
“The biggest character of this team stays that we never give up. If you look back, we had a bad run initially but since then we have been able to turn around and it has to be attributed to the mental strength of the team,” said the 16-time national capped player.
“The unity in the squad is commendable, it’s like a group of brothers playing football together. That’s the understanding which we have and it’s very vital for us,” he also added.
The Indian team meanwhile face Myanmar in their next qualifier match in the AFC Asian Cup and Jhingan, who was the national captain in the Champions Cup, may once again be chosen to lead the side.
Jhingan was also one of the first player s to be retained by the Kerala Blasters FC and he will have to perform at his extreme best, if the Kochi based side are to cross the final hurdle, for the first time after two failures in 2014 and 2016.