5 Players who can replace Jhingan at Kerala Blasters

Sandesh Jhingan’s talks with clubs in UK and Australia are no more hidden and that highlights the need and requirement of a player to replace the giant and powerful defender at Kerala Blasters FC. Known for his ​physical strength, aerial ability ​and willingness to put the body on the line, he is considered to be one of the best defenders in India. Parting ways with a player like him is quite a misery for the club and finding a replacement to such an amazing player is a real big task to be completed. The ​winner of the Indian Super League Emerging Player of the Year and All India Football Federation Emerging Player of the Year​ in 2014 is now a veteran who did every possible thing on field for the club during his 6 years.

Getting a replacement for this gem is really difficult but let’s have a look at his possible replacements for the club :-

1) Sarthak Golui

Born in West Bengal, Golui was a part of the AIFF Elite Academy before trialing with I-League side, Mohun Bagan.On 9 January 2016, Golui made his professional debut with Mohun Bagan in the opening game of the I-League season against Aizawl. He came on in the last minute for Kean Lewis as Mohun Bagan won 3–1.

Sarthak Golui of FC Pune City celebrates a goal during match 74 of the Hero Indian Super League between Bengaluru FC and FC Pune City held at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium, Bangalore, India on the 16th Feb 2018 Photo by: Vipin Pawar / ISL / SPORTZPICS

The number 16 has represented India in both the under-16 and under-19 level, he has also played AFC Cup qualifying round against Maldives club. Other than playing as a full back Golui also plays as the centre back and a right mid fielder which makes him a versatile player.

Sarthak has had 4 percent goal participation in all games and has started in almost 75% of all games he has played. He can be a possible replacement for Jhingan at KBFC.


In conversation with Vinit Rai

Team IFTWC recently organised a live session on Instagram with the indian team and Odisha FC midfield maestro Vinit Rai. On 15th May the box to box player joined hand with IFTWC to talk about various aspects of the game and answer questions by the fans regarding development of football.

Starting with his first season as an ISL player , he started at a young age and joined Kerala Blasters FC for the 2016 season of the ISL although he got only 1 match to start but got to learn about the league at the club. He then joined Delhi Dynamos in 2017. Vinit highly appreciates the efforts put in by the coaches and managing staff and the trust they showed in him all that gave power to him which then resulted in his good performance on the pitch and helped him sustain and improve with the team.

Apart from the coaching staff a player Vinit thanks is Marcos Tebar , he says Marcos is a true leader and he knows how to handle and motivate the team in difficult situations , he inspires the team also with his playing style. His chemistry with Tebar can be seen in the matches and how both of them know what the other player is going to do next, Although the team is not sure if Marcos will stay or not at OFC. But Vinit surely wants to improve here as Odisha FC.

Marcos Tebar and Vinit with manager Josep Gombau

Talking about his contribution in the Indian team he has been the part of the Indian National team for a while now and has played matches against Qatar and China, and the team managed to earn a point from both the matches, he is still in a learning process but is ready to serve the nation. When questioned, what he does in his off season Vinit replied he works out 2 times a day for 6 days and rests on sundays , he sticks to his diet all the time because fitness for him is the most important.

Vinit for the Indian National Team

The Assamese loves to play as a deepline midfielder and plays the role of a box to box man , he believes communication between players and a better understanding can help create a lot more chances to score. He tries to be a part of the build up process in any game and respects the position of a defensive midfielder. He is inspired by his idol Eugeneson Lyngdoh , he says Lyngdoh is a cool headed guy and has a great passing range, he aspires to be a great player in the midfield and want to go abroad in the next 5 years to play in a different league and challenge himself.

Vinit is a player who keeps most of the things to himself and is focused on developing himself and his game so when asked about naming the under rated players in the under 23 squad , he replied:

“I don’t like to think that much , all this distracts me , and according to me anyone who does hard-work deserves and will achieve success and limelight “.

He then discussed about the scenerio of football and it’s structure in Assam and mentioned that the introduction of North East United FC in the ISL helped a lot to boost the quality of football in
Assam, as it motivated people and players and resulted in development of more football academies in Assam. He said local players are getting highlighted and much more opportunities are available to them now.

He wrapped up by telling that fitness and mentality are the 2 key attributes to become a good player and at an important position like his he doesn’t want opponents passing by and if they do he has to cover up, where fitness comes into play. Also a DMF has to do all the dirty work and has to go for every ball be it grounded or aerial whatever it’s probability be let it be 60-40 or 70-30 so here your strong mentality is required.

Finally we ended the session with a small rapid fire round with some miscellaneous questions where we got to know that Vinit’s favourite player is Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid is his favourite club.

Vinit is a player with great determination and dedication he’s looking forward to grow more as a player at Odisha FC and do whatever he can for his country in National matches.

Indian player of the season – Hyderabad FC

This article is a part of our Indian Player of the Season (IPS) series, where we talk about the best Indian player from each club.

The star Indian defender Adil Khan was quite in demand in the market and got a lot of lucrative offers from major ISL clubs like ATK FC, Kerala Blasters and FC Goa. However he has dedicated his future to Hyderabad FC. Hyderabad FC have announced that Adil Khan has signed a new deal that will keep him at the club till the Indian Super League 2023 season.

The veteran: Adil Khan

The 31-year-old, with his tireless performances as a box-to-box midfielder in the ISL and as a CB in the Indian National team has proved his worth and importance in the team, his experience is really important specially for the young players such as Narender Gahlot and Sahal Abdul Samad.

Speaking on his contract extension Adil said, “I’m happy to make Hyderabad my home for the next 3 years. I have faith in this club and its management and believe we will have better luck and achieve greater success in the next few seasons.”

The midfielder cum defender started his professional footballing career with Sporting Clube de Goa where he played for them in the Second Division and I-League for five years. Thereafter, he began his journey by representing Mohun Bagan, Delhi Dynamos, Bharat FC, Lonestar Kashmir, and Churchill Brothers.

Adil had made his debut for the Blue Tigers in 2012 before making a comeback seven years later under Igor Stimac in the King’s Cup 2019.

“Being recalled to the Indian team this year (2019) was somewhat a reincarnation for me as a footballer”  – Adil Khan 

His comeback was a high point in his life but things were pretty difficult for him when India had to face Bangladesh in the World Cup Qualifier because his dad was in operation theatre as he fought for India.

Adil’s father, Badrudin Khan, was in hospital with two heart blockages and needed surgery. The surgery, his family told him, would happen later that evening, when the defender would line-up for India against Bangladesh in a World Cup 2022 qualifier at the Salt Lake stadium in Kolkata. He kept everything to himself and took a deep breath and started warming up and still took the field as if nothing had happened.

Initially his game didn’t felt like his game or his playing style , but gradually he showed everyone who Adil Khan is and scored a banger on the 88th minute, equalizing 

India with Bangladesh and dedicated his goal to his father, wife and injured defender Sandesh Jhingan, Adil said he was happy with the performance but not the result.

Adil rushed to Goa and discovered that his father was recovering well after a successful surgery.

Like every other player , Adil had to switch to Hyderabad FC as Pune City FC shifted their base to Hyderabad under Phil Brown. During the pre season 

Hyderabad FC played a pre-season friendly against an I-League club Real Kashmir FC on 4 October 2019. They drew the match 1–1 with Laldanmawia Ralte scoring the solitary goal for the Hyderabad side.

It was only after gaffer Phil Brown’s departure that the “City of Nawabs” got back to playing well. The addition of former Bengaluru FC coach Albert Roca as their instructor mid season further boosted their progress. But it was a little too late for the team to do much and get back to the top half of the league table. But the team management is surely working to develop a strong team for the next season 

With a dull season in the Hero ISL campaign this season Adil Khan was one of those bright spots that the team needed the most, his performance as the defence was extremely amazing throughout his 9 appearances for the team. He came up with 59 tackles all together in his appearances, 12 interceptions, 27 clearances, and 7 blocks despite playing as a midfielder.

Adil Khan surely deserves to the player of the season because his crucial 27 clearances helped the team to atleast sustain the season and prepare them for a better season ahead. Despite being at the bottom of the table this season he has extended his contract for the same team which surely is a positive step put forward by him to bring glory to Hyderabad FC. 

Recommendations to level up Indian Football by the visionary Ranjit Bajaj

In a recent webinar 

IFBA ( Indian Football Businesses Awards) hosted Mr. Ranjit Bajaj as the guest speaker on the topic : 

Football entrepreneurship and innovation 

The owner of Minerva Academy, and extremely enigmatic Mr. Ranjit Bajaj strongly believes in two things which can lead anyone to heights of success i.e. Passion and Belief, perhaps that’s what led Minerva to win 7 I-League titles . 

Ranjit Bajaj with the I-League trophy

He wants to promote  Indian football and create an atmosphere where people from our country come out to support the local clubs and watch us win the World Cup. For this he quoted  “For winning the World Cup We need hundred Minervas to increase the talent pool” which he said is surely possible. You only need to start working with passion. 

When asked about finding the right balance between football and business and that which is more important he replied ” Business for me is also not a business , i started following my love i.e. The Indian Armed Forces and started training the future of Indian Armed Forces.” To which he added , Football for him is also love and his love for the two is incomparable. 

The man who has revolutionized the Indian football Entrepreneurship scenario recently created history by selling the club to a corporate business house. It was surely a brave move , but his motive behind this was to promote local talent so that the club should not be a buying club but be a selling club which could provide World class players , he didn’t do it with the thought to become national champions because that’s not the way to succeed.

Explaining the correct way he added :

“the first thing in the mind of the person should be , do you have passion for it ,do you have love for it 

will you go through this no matter what happens even if you don’t succeed you will have no problems. The whole world will work against you , the state will not support you the federation will not support you, you will not get any sponsors and are still willing to go through all this then come out with a smile on your face if you fail , if you are willing to do all that then you should get into this” 

The underdogs Minerva FC started with no sponsorships or state support , no government support  unlike clubs like Mohun Bagan , East Bengal and Real Kashmir but still managed to compete against them and managed to win, it was all because of passion.

The revolutionist never wanted to pay and play and always believed on merit to join the I- League . 

The plan to make a successful team is by giving more game time to players be it the pre existing senior players with deserving juniors as this amalgamation can create a team with variety and versatility , both the youngsters and senior players will compliment each other’s game.  

Changes a pre existing club needs to do in order to grow !

Coming onto running an existing club in India the changes Mr. Ranjit wants involve, preparing a financial fair play in leagues such as the I- League. He wants the federation to put a cap on expenditure. Providing examples he added clubs such as Bengaluru FC (when playing in the I-League), Mohun Bagan and East Bengal could spend as much money as they wanted. Mohun Bagan did pay Sony Norde a salary of 3.5- 4 crore rupees a year while the same year budget of Minerva was just 1.4 crore and still they won the I- League. So instead of investing so much money on one player if a club invests  on a World class academy then they will have an amazing player every year who can assure them the title. 

Ranjit sir is creating a team for the FIFA World Cup 2034 which involves players of the age of 5-10 years , talking about the feasibility and possibility of this plan he explained that young players when trained from the very start will have many pros such as family involvement which can help create the culture and atmosphere of football in a family and infuse football in the coming genes , second when trained and played against top teams from the very start  players will play on the basis of face value and not by the value of the team or a player on global platform this will help in letting out the fear of not being able to perform equally as foreign players and clubs and would ultimately prove the statement completely wrong.

“The moment we start playing these international teams from a young age we are going to beat them”

He in fact also let out his scouting secrets so that clubs could learn from this and work for football and raising, training true talent rather than just doing business and giving opportunities on pay and play  basis.

Further when asked about his past in england as a college student and how Indian football is different than English Football he praised Calcuta and said the culture he experienced in England he experienced the same footballing culture in Bengal , he also added ” you are born in a club , you don’t have a choice” 

He did the part time  job of a Stuart in league matches back in England which provided him the chance to experience the culture of football there and how football for countries like England , Germany, Spain is not just a sport but an essential service. Rivalries and rebels between kids and parents in England didn’t include disobeying them  but following the rival club of their father’s favourite club, and that’s a good kind of rivalry one which indirectly unites ! 

His suggestion to develop football in the grassroot included a suggestion for the AIFF to reduce the fee of the exams to become a coach let it be of D,C,B or A license because the high fee prohibits potential coaches to get licensed hence blocking the growth of football .

Secondly there is no such thing as a solidarity fee for clubs who provide great players to financially strong and top league clubs providing absolutely no reason to someone to start a new academy or club.

If there would be a solidarity fee provided to the  initial club from where a player started his career. This would increase the enthusiasm of the small club or academy and allow them to work even harder to find great talent more often.

Although Minerva had a tie up with Borussia Mönchengladbach but Ranjit sir said that the only reason a foreign club wants to be in our country is to generate revenue, no foreign club wants to actually uplift Indian football and the game in India. But on the positive side we can use these clubs to provide exposure to our local lads and make them play against them more often. 

Replying to the final question i.e. what does it take to sustain an academy for a longer period of time?

Paaji firmly said “it’s all Passion, Love and hardwork. Passion will take you there , hard-work will keep you going, but whenever you fail , passion makes sure you keep working hard” 

These golden words by him are enough for a person to keep going in whichever field they love and have passion for.

Ranjit sir rested his case by finally saying that Minerva is going nowhere it is there and it will remain the factory to produce the best Football talent India has and his aim in his lifetime is to not only see India win the World Cup but thrash other countries in it, and it’s his promise to make India reach the World Cup by 2034 or by 2038.

That were the suggestions, requests and words of a Legend , a man full of passion and a true visionary.

We love you Paaji ❤️⚽.