The defender is the first Indian footballer and sportsperson to participate in the movement.
Current India international and one of the icons of the game in the current generation, Sandesh Jhingan has become the latest athlete to participate in the #PelegacyJerseyExchange movement, a massive exchange of shirts around the world, made in collaboration with the Pelé Foundation.
The movement is being organized to honour the Brazilian great Pelé’s 80th birth anniversary (as well as the 50th anniversary of the 1970 World Cup) and to raise funds for the fight against COVID-19 in Brazil, by collecting jerseys from athletes from all over the globe and auctioning them at the end of the year.
The former Kerala Blasters defender who was an icon for the Yellow Army becomes the first Indian footballer and sportsperson to participate in the event. He uploaded a video on his Instagram handle thanking Pelé for the opportunity, as he wrote “It’s an honour for me to take part in this amazing initiative and to be the first to represent India to honour one of the greatest of all times Pelé Sir for his 80th birthday. I encourage everyone to join Pelegacy in the fight against COVID-19.”
Jhingan currently stands in elite company with athletes such as Kylian Mbappé, Nani, Zico, Rivelino, Usain Bolt and Roger Milla, who have also dedicated autographed shirts to Pelé.
He recently made a big money move to ATK Mohun Bagan, which makes him one of the highest-paid Indian players in the Indian Super League. It happened after his long association with Kerala Blasters came to an end. Although, he started his career at United Sikkim, he grew in stature at the Blasters, where in 2014 he was adjudged the ISL Emerging Player of the Year. From there, he went on to captain the side and became a true fan-favourite. Therefore, his departure was an emotional one for the fans and for Jhingan as well.
However, the 27-year-old will look to move ahead and achieve big things in the upcoming season, after he missed the entirety of the last season due to injury. The Arjuna Awardee will be a vital cog in Antonio Habas’ team, who are set to play in the AFC Cup this season, so there will be added responsibility on Jhingan’s trusted shoulders.