Indian Super League club Kerala Blasters have officially announced the departure of captain Sandesh Jhingan, saying they parted ways on “mutual consent” ahead of the upcoming ISL season. Jhingan joined the ISL team in 2014 and have made 76 appearances for the club.
“Sandesh leaves our family, to pursue fresh challenges with nothing but love and respect from the entire KBFC community,” Kerala Blasters said on Twitter.
“Growing together over the past 6 years and moulding him into one of the finest center backs to represent our country, has been a proud moment for the club. We are honoured to be a part of and support his journey so far,” the club said in a following tweet, and wished Jhingan the best for his upcoming challenges.
Kerala Blasters and Sandesh Jhingan part ways on mutual consent.— K e r a l a B l a s t e r s F C (@KeralaBlasters) May 21, 2020
Sandesh leaves our family, to pursue fresh challenges with nothing but love and respect from the entire KBFC community.
(1/3)#YennumBlaster #YennumYellow #ThankyouSandesh pic.twitter.com/vADmIVfahK
“We wish our ‘Wall’ the very best for his upcoming challenges and look forward to him reaching newer heights,” the Blasters’ Twitter account tweeted, adding ‘once a Blaster, always a Blaster’.
As a parting gift to their talismanic player, Kerala Blasters decided to retire his number 21 jersey.
🗣️ | "He will always remain a Blaster at heart. As a tribute to his contributions, we will be permanently retiring his jersey number 21."— Indian Super League (@IndSuperLeague) May 21, 2020
A memorable parting gift from @KeralaBlasters owner Nikhil Bharadwaj for @SandeshJhingan 💛#HeroISL pic.twitter.com/EllDfmuRZv
The centre-back, who is said to have received offers from foreign clubs, has said that it was great to be part of Kerala Blasters, building “great memories together”. He specially mentioned the people of Kerala who have supported the club and thanked them.
“I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the love you have shown myself and KBFC. I am sure you will continue to support the club in the future as well. Both the club and the fans will always hold a special place in my heart,” Jhingan said.
Known as ‘The Wall’, Jhingan, who took over as captain in 2017, became popular with the fans and die-hard supporters, also called ‘Manjappada’ (yellow brigade) in Kerala, ever since he joined the team. Since his debut with the Blasters, Jhingan won the ISL and AIFF Emerging Player of the Year in 2014. He was recently nominated for the Arjuna Awards by the All India Football Federation as well.
Jhingan has also been a staple of the Indian football team, captaining the national side on several occasions.
Nikhil Bhardwaj, owner of Kerala Blasters, thanked Jhingan for his commitment and passion to the club, and said that as a tribute to his contributions to the club, his jersey number 21 will be permanently retired. “We know that he will always remain a Blaster at heart,” Bhardwaj added.