Indian football team head coach Igor Stimac on Saturday included defender Rahul Bheke in his 23-man squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifier against Bangladesh.
“Halicharan, Farukh and Nishu gave others a tough run for money and the decision was not an easy one. They came very close to their competitors. It was in fact a tough decision to take,” said Stimac. Jhingan suffered an Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) tear on his left knee during the team’s 1-1 draw against ISL side NorthEast United FC in a friendly on Wednesday.
He will undergo a surgery that may rule him out for six months. “It usually takes time to return to sport. He will be monitored constantly during the rehabilitation phase so that he comes back on the field sooner,” said Team Physio Gigy George. “Sandesh is our Iron-man. He will be missed but knowing him, I’m pretty sure he’ll come back much stronger,” stated Stimac.
Goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, who led from the front as captain in the drawn match against Asian champion Qatar in Doha, termed the ruling out of Sandesh as a ‘big loss’ for the Blue Tigers. “It’s really sad. I could imagine how he would feel missing this game but he’s a strong guy. He’ll come back soon,” remarked Sandhu. The Indian team will reach Kolkata on Sunday.