News Live Scores

Sandesh Jhingan - Great days lie ahead for Indian football under Igor Stimac

04:59 BST 16/05/2019
Sandesh Jhingan India training camp
The centre back believes the Blue Tigers will benefit from Stimac's coaching experience...

India centre-back Sandesh Jhingan has called on all fans to rally behind the new national team head coach Igor Stimac. Officially announced by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) on Wednesday, Stimac has already received the whole-hearted backing of current and former players alike.

"With his experience, I think it is great for Indian football, especially after what he has achieved with Croatia in 2014 and now we know at what level Croatia is and him being one of the pioneers of that process, it shows his positive vision as well", Jhingan told Goal.

Stimac takes over the reins of the Blue Tigers, ranked 101 in the FIFA Rankings, ahead of two major friendly tournaments - the King's Cup in Thailand and the InterContinental Cup at home in the next two months.

The Croat formerly held the top job of his home nation and helped the likes of Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

As a player, the defender won the bronze medal at the 1998 World Cup. Stimac was part of the team that defeated the Netherlands in the third-place match after falling to France in the semi-final.

Jhingan, who will now need a new partner at the heart of defence after the international retirement of Anas Edathodika, hopes to gain much more from the former West Ham captain.

"Personally for me, it is a big bonus as he was a centre-back in his playing days and he had a great 1998 World Cup. So I can learn a lot personally as well," expressed the Kerala Blasters skipper.

Despite being 25 years of age, Jhingan is already a leader in the national set-up, having been handed the armband in more than a couple of occasions by former head coach Stephen Constantine.

Jhingan was the captain when Indian won the Tri-Nation Series in 2017 at Mumbai and in a 0-0 draw away to China in October 2018.

As the Punjab-born looks forward to add to his 31 senior caps in June against Curacao in Thailand, Jhingan remained optimistic of the future with Stimac.

"More importantly now, it is time for me and for the whole squad to adapt to his system as soon as we can. We have to believe in the process and vision behind it and have patience as a nation as well.

"Also, we have got to support each other for more glories as I honestly believe that great days lie ahead for Indian football if we all stay together with a positive attitude and have patience," Jhingan envisaged.