KERALA BLASTERS LEGEND Sandesh Jhingan has bid an emotional goodbye to the fans as he left the franchise after six eventful years with them.
When the Kerala Blasters came into existence in the first ISL season back in 2014, the tall lanky defender who they drafted in from Mumbai FC became a surprise star act, surprising the throngs of fans at Kochi's Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium with his bravado on the pitch, willing to go toe-to-toe with European strikers.
Arguably the first ever Indian star-name made in the ISL, Jhingan earned the 'Emerging Player of The League' award in 2014 and immediately became an unofficial marquee for the franchise; the player that fans most identified with.
His relationship with KBFC continued even as he went out on loan to Sporting Clube de Goa and Bengaluru FC to play in I-League and AFC Cup, with many KBFC fans travelling to attend those clubs' matches especially to support him.
The special relationship he fostered with the KBFC fans is the reason many of the faithfuls reacted with shock and disbelief when it was announced that he was leaving the franchise.
Much has speculation has been made about the reason behind his departure. Reports have claimed that due to Jhingan's injury keeping him out of injury last season, the franchise wasn't sure how effective he would be in 2020-21, and denied his request to increase his salary which led a parting of ways. But Thursday evening, as Jhingan addressed the situation for the first time, he kept it classy and chose to address the fans, thanking the people of Kerala for the unconditional love he got from them.
Sandesh Jhingan has played 78 matches for Kerala Blasters; including 76 appearances in the ISL. An experienced, reliable defender who also established himself as a national team regular and a nationwide star whose appeal remains bright despite a year's absence from action, Jhingan isn't lacking in suitors; with rumours suggesting he has already chosen his next destination, putting a bow on it with a handsome three year deal.