As footballers you want to be part of such big games, Jhingan ahead of the Kolkata derby
Ahead of the much-awaited first-ever Kolkata derby in the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL), defender Sandesh Jhingan has revealed that he has never witnessed the two Indian football powerhouses in a face-off right from the stands.
The ATK Mohun Bagan centre-back, who made his debut for the Kolkata giants against Kerala Blasters FC in the 2020-21 season opener and played an important role in the 1-0 win, will look to help his side to another win when they face SC East Bengal at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Vasco on Friday.
"I've never had the chance to watch a Kolkata derby live at the stadium. It's one of the biggest derbies in the world. As footballers, you want to be a part of such big games on big stages, so I'm looking forward to it,” he told ISL Media.
“The derby has a rich history and its roots run deep in Indian football. Now, hopefully, I get a chance to be part of it,” Jhingan added.
The 27-year-old believes that the Kolkata derby is good for Indian football and fans, and hopes to have a solid game on a personal level on Friday. “The Kolkata derby is good for Indian football and the fans, but we live in the present and I have to do my job, just like the rest of the team – to get the three points and a clean sheet,” he said.
The India international, however, is of the opinion that a derby is as important as any other game in terms of the magnitude. “I don't look deep into the magnitude of the game, whether it's the Kolkata derby or any other match, it's all the same. All are important, so I don't let emotions get to me. The coaches and the staff are looking at it as a game of football," he said.
Jhingan finally said his side are ready for the challenge ahead and put his faith in head coach Antonio Lopez Habas’ tactics. "We are a set team, so it gives them an idea of our strengths and weaknesses. They have a new team and are unpredictable. We don't know what they are going to provide us. There are responsibilities on us but we believe in our system and our coach, I'm sure he will have a perfect plan for this game.”