Sandesh Jhingan stated that the ultimate dream of the Indian football team is to play in the FIFA World Cup but there are certain steps that they must climb to achieve the target. Jhingan recently received the Arjuna Award and became only the 27th footballer to be honoured with the title.
India’s resurgence at the International level has been noteworthy but the national team needs to perform well on a regular basis to establish itself as a powerhouse. The Blue Tigers qualified for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, after an 8-year gap, but were knocked out in the group stages itself, in spite of a thumping 4-1 win over Thailand in the opening games.
Their 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign hasn’t been fruitful either, with Sunil and Co failing to win a single match, even though they were pitted with teams like Bangladesh and Afghanistan. Indian defender Sandesh Jhingan admitted that the ultimate goal of the national team is to play in the FIFA World Cup, but there are certain steps that they must climb to achieve the target.
"Our ultimate dream as a nation is to qualify for the World Cup. But there are certain steps which we need to climb on the pathway - like being regular for the AFC Asian Cup, breaking into the top 100, then into the top 50, winning tournaments at home, and abroad. Physically and mentally, you need to be in sync. As players, we need to stay hungry," said Sandesh Jhingan, as reported by New Indian Express.
Jhingan recently received the Arjuna Award and became the 27th footballer to be conferred with the prestigious award. The 27-year old has been a stalwart in the Indian football team for the past few years, with the side depending heavily on his defensive duties. Sandesh stated that he personally enjoys being under pressure and loves to shoulder responsibility, which also brings out the best in him.
"People who know me know how much I crave to be under pressure. But I see this award as a responsibility. I thrive under responsibility. I always prefer to be that guy in the room with all the responsibility than one sitting at the corner. The recognition of my performances makes me extremely happy,” added the footballer.