The Kochi-based club officially parted ways with the centre-back on Thursday.

On Thursday, Indian Super League (ISL) side Kerala Blasters officially confirmed that captain Sandesh Jhingan was leaving the club. The Kochi-outfit also announced that they have retired the No. 21 jersey worn by the star defender, as a tribute to him.

In a statement released on the same day, Nikhil Bhardwaj, the owner of Kerala Blasters, thanked Jhingan for his contribution and made the announcement about retiring his jersey number.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank Sandesh for his commitment, loyalty and passion for the club and its supporters. KBFC respects Sandesh’s desire to pursue a new challenge and we wish him all the best for this new journey,” he said.

“We know that he will always remain a Blaster at heart. As a tribute to his contributions to the club, we will be permanently retiring his jersey number 21.”

Jhingan joined Kerala Blasters ahead of their first ISL season in 2014 and has been a leader for them on and off the pitch throughout the past six years. He is also the club’s most capped player of all-time, with 76 appearances across five seasons. Had he not suffered from a season-ending ACL injury ahead of the recently concluded 2019-20 season, those numbers would have risen even higher.

Consistent performances for the Yellow Army also made the 26-year-old a regular in the Indian national team. He debuted for the Blue Tigers in 2015 and has recorded 36 appearances for them till date.

Speaking about his impending exit from the Blasters, Sandesh Jhingan said, “It was great to be a part of Kerala Blasters right from the beginning. We’ve built some great memories together as we helped each other grow, but have finally decided to part ways.”

“I wish all the good luck to the club going forward. A special mention to the people of Kerala who have always stood behind the club no matter what. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the love you have shown myself and KBFC. I am sure you will continue to support the club in the future as well. Both the club and the fans will always hold a special place in my heart,” he signed off.

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