The desire to hit the ground running on return has kept the Indian team footballers motivated amid the COVID-19 pandemic, says defender Sandesh Jhingan.
The players have been forced to stay away from the pitch as the unprecedented global health crisis has led to either cancellation or postponement of all sporting events.
“I’m lucky to be a part of this team. We keep in touch with the coaching staff -- they keep giving us training programmes and monitor our progress,” said Jhingan, whose daily fitness routine begins at 4.30 am.
“We should focus on things that are under our control at the moment, and fitness is one of those things,” he stated.
The 26-year-old was joined by others from the footballing community in South Asia — Bhutan captain Karma Shedrup Tshering, Maldives captain Akram Abdul Ghani, Pakistan goalkeeper Yousuf Butt, Bangladesh captain Jamal Bhuyan, and Sri Lankan referee Nivon Robesh — as they discussed the COVID-19 lockdown situation in their respective countries.
The towering defender urged all to respect those who are risking their lives to keep the pandemic under check.
“We must all appreciate and respect those on the frontlines — the doctors, the police, etc. These are the guys who are saving our lives. Respect everyone and show compassion to all,” he said.
The central defender also spoke about the technical help that the sports community has been providing during the lockdown.
He cited the fortnight-long online coaching refresher course that was jointly organised by Sports Authority of India (SAI) and the All India Football Federation (AIFF).
“The federation has been arranging online coaching seminars as well, something that has been very helpful to the coaches. Our national team head coach (Igor Stimac) has also taken part in these seminars,” he said.