New Delhi, Apr 12: Meeting your heroes is a memory to cherish for a lifetime and Sandesh Jhingan had his biggest fanboy moment as a 15-year-old when he got to shake hands with former India captain Bhaichung Bhutia.
“When I was 15 we played a tournament in Goa. That’s where I got to shake hands with Bhaichungbhai. I was like, 'I am never going to wash my hand," a smiling Jhingan recalled in an episode of Let's Football Live. In fact, it was with Bhutia's United Sikkim Football Club that Jhingan first made his debut for the I-League in 2012, and he just can’t forget training and playing alongside Bhutia and Renedy Singh -- another former Blue Tigers skipper.
“It was like a dream. These guys were my phone's wallpapers! Till the other day, I was idolising them, watching them play. And then at USFC, I got to play with them,” he smiled. "I was thrilled when I succeeded in the trials with United Sikkim FC. When I finally signed the contract papers it was just an amazing feeling,” the bearded defender smiled. “I am grateful to Bhaichungbhai for giving me the opportunity. Training every day with the likes of Bhaichungbhai and Renedybhai, and just being around them was something out of a dream," Jhingan exclaimed.
He also paid rich tribute to Renedy highlighting the latter’s impact on his career and how the former midfielder helped Jhingan get a “great start.” "Seeing Renedybhai score those trademark free-kicks for fun in training was just incredible. He helped me a lot at the time and that added to my confidence. He would come to me often after training and motivate me,” Jhingan quipped. “Today if God asks me whether I want to change anything about the start of my career, I would not change a single thing." Currently, the defender is recovering from an injury and is at his home in Chandigarh, due to the nation-wide lockdown imposed because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
"My rehabilitation period is on and I was originally supposed to join the team in March. I have a programme in place -- I do leg strengthening and balancing exercises, along with cardio to keep my endurance up and stay fit," Jhingan mentioned. He added, "Rest of the day, I do household things such as washing utensils, reading books, writing and social media. It's great to spend time with my family, speaking to my parents and reminiscing about childhood days with my brothers.” (UNI)