India international defender Sandesh Jhingan believes that the goalless draw against Qatar last year in the World Cup 2022 qualifiers has been the most memorable match of his international career so far.
During an online chat with Minerva Academy owner Ranjit Bajaj, the defender explained why he considers the result against the Asian champions as the pinnacle of his India career so far.
“The most memorable match has to be the match against Qatar because it was a World Cup qualifying game and it was against the Asian champions,” Jhingan said. It must be noted that Jhingan was handed the captain's armband when India managed to hold China to a goalless draw in a friendly away from home in 2018.
He feels the Qatar result was of greater importance than the China result which came under Stephen Constantine.
“I am not saying that China were not a big team but Qatar being Asian champions and we going to their turf and getting a draw was amazing. The best thing about the match was five days before that we had a very good game against Oman. We were leading until the 75th minute then we conceded to late goals. I take the full blame. We should have won that game. It happened just five days before the Qatar game.
“After reaching Qatar, coach Igor (Stimac) told us that he was proud of us and that made us motivated and then we showed our real character. We were extraordinary. It was a joy to play that game.”
The 27-year-old defender also heaped praise on young defenders Narender Gahlot, Anwar Ali and Sumit Rathi and feels that there are some really good defenders coming up.
“Narender (Gahlot) is a great player and he has a lot of potentials. He is a very good boy. I also like Anwar (Ali). He is fantastic with the ball, I love his technique. He still needs to work on his positioning but at that age, you tend to have this thing, not so strong with positioning but he is so clean with the ball.
"Sumit (Rathi) is also very good and he had a very good season (with ATK). He has a decent left-foot, is strong with the ball, tough in the tackle and wins his aerial battles,” said the experienced centre-back when voicing his opinion over the next generation of Indian defenders.