After finalizing a trade from ATK Mohun Bagan to HNK Sibenik, Sandesh Jhingan will become the first Indian international footballer to play in Croatia’s top-tier league, Prva HNL. The 28-year-old, who was named India’s footballer of the year last month, is already in Croatia, where he watched Hrvatski Dragovoljac triumph at home on Sunday. “We have high expectations for him because we have followed him on many platforms where we have been able to see his previous performances,” said Francisco Cardona, CEO of HNK Sibenik.
“We are certain that with his quality and leadership, he will become an essential member of the squad despite the fact that the adaption process may take him a few weeks.”
“While witnessing the club’s last home game from the stands, he made a strong impression on the personnel and supporters.” Cardona remarked, “He displayed passion and energy for the team.”
Jhingan was ecstatic to be offered a position at HNK Sibenik in Croatia’s Prva HNL.
“I believe I am at a point in my career when I want to put myself to the ultimate test, and I believe this is the ideal venue for me. As I previously stated, it has always been a dream of mine to play in Europe, and I have accepted this challenge ” Says the top defender.
“Thank you to head coach Mario Rosas, as well as the owners and management, for allowing me to come here. I’m excited to get started and look forward to giving it my all at every chance “Jhingan continued.
HNK Sibenik, which was founded on December 1, 1932, returned to the top flight last season under new management. The team came in sixth place in the league, barely two spots short of qualifying for European competitions.
The club lies in Sibenik, Croatia’s Dalmatian area, a city with breath-taking strongholds that have protected it for years, as well as the stunning Cathedral of St. James, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
“Sandesh’s presence makes us very happy. We are confident that he will assist us in achieving the objectives we have set for ourselves this season. His time here will contribute to his development as a player and as a person “Mario Rosas, the coach of HNK Sibenik, said.
Jhingan’s initiative to step outside of his comfort zone was lauded by the Spanish coach.
“We hope he would continue to serve as an inspiration to Indian footballers. By striving to break out of his comfort zone and show what Indian footballers are capable of, he has shown his ambition and competitiveness “Rosas stated.
Jhingan began his childhood career at Chandigarh’s St. Stephen’s Football Academy before joining United Sikkim in the top league in 2011.
Sandesh rose to popularity as a young 21-year-old player during the inaugural edition of the Indian Super League (ISL) in 2014, when he was named Emerging Player of the League.
This achievement helped him secure a spot in the senior Indian national squad, where he made his debut against Nepal in the FIFA World Cup 2018 qualifiers in 2015.
After six years at Kerala Blasters FC, where he won two ISL runners-up medals, the defender transferred to ATK Mohun Bagan in 2020 after missing the previous season due to injury.