Jhingan named captain for match against China

Charismatic striker Sunil Chhetri is the regular skipper of the side but it is not unusual to rotate the captaincy in international friendlies.

Indian football team coach Stephen Constantine and Sandesh Jhingan during a press conference. (FILE PHOTO)   -  PTI

Sandesh Jhingan will lead the Indian football team against China on Saturday as coach Stephen Constantine termed the burly defender as one of the leaders of the team, going forward.

Charismatic striker Sunil Chhetri is the regular skipper of the side but it is not unusual to rotate the captaincy in international friendlies.

It will be the first meeting between the two teams since the Nehru Cup clash in Kochi in 1997. India is yet to win a single match against China in the 17 encounters played between the two countries so far.

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“I think the captain has to reflect the attitude of the coach. Sandesh first played for me four years ago. He is a fighter and a leader. He gives everything on the pitch which most of the players do,” Constantine said at the pre-match press conference.

“I think he is going to be one of the leaders for India going forward. Keeping the magnitude of the game in mind, I believe he deserves to lead the team.

The newly-appointed skipper thanked the coach for believing in him and handing the captain’s armband to him.

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“As an Indian boy it was always my dream to represent the country. It’s a great feeling that I can’t actually express in words,” he said.

“In Chhetri-bhai, Gurpeet, Jeje- we have a group of leaders which makes my job easy. We all work together to achieve the goal. The plan for tomorrow is that to stick to the plan and give our best on the pitch. If we are able to do that the result will follow. We’re really looking forward to play in this beautiful stadium.”