Blue Tigers centre-back Sandesh Jhingan quoted Lord Buddha in a message, urging fans to “appreciate” what they have, as he joined a consortium of South Asian football players in a Facebook Live session conducted by the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) on Thursday (May 7, 2020).
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, and how different challenges can be overcome.
During this live conference, Jhingan surmised, “When it comes to life-and-death situations like this, your appreciation of things really increases. There is a famous quote by Lord Buddha that things can be taken from you in a second, so you need to appreciate what you have, especially when you have your family and your loved ones around you.”
The towering defender further urged all the fans 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 Indian Football community has already been committing a lot to help the people of the country during this time of crisis and Jhingan told the same to his counterparts.
“In India, every sports federation has come forward to pitch in financially. The athletes have also come forward to donate to the PM CARES fund. This just goes to show how united our nation is,” he informed.
The central defender further went on to mention the technical help that the sports community has been providing during the period of the COVID-19 Lockdown. He cited the fortnight-long online Coaching Refresher Course that was organised by the collaborated forces of the 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.
While the football action has stayed away from the pitch these last few weeks, Jhingan believes that the desire to get back on the green grass has kept him and his teammates motivated to stay fit, even while remaining in quarantine at home.
“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,” informed Sandesh, who went on to state that his 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.