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'Bubble life tough but not worse than lives of soldiers in sub-zero temperature'

February 07, 2022 16:42 IST

Sandesh Jhingan

IMAGE: Sandesh Jhingan is currently playing for ATK Mohun Bagan in the Indian Super League. Photograph: AIFF Media

Top sporting stars have often expressed apprehensions about prolonged stay in a bio-bubble and though India footballer Sandesh Jhingan agrees with their viewpoint, he says it is "still not worse" than lives of soldiers stationed in sub-zero temperature.

The athletes' bubble life started in the middle of 2020 when sporting action resumed amid the COVID-19 pandemic, about three months after the outbreak brought everything to a standstill.

"It (life in a bubble) is not that scary, to be honest, but it is tough because you are just locked in your room. This is my fourth or fifth bubble now and in the past two years, I have been in the bubble only with the national team, club but it is what it is," the 28-year-old Jhingan said in an interview.


The star defender added, "It is still not worse than people who are in the army, people who are in minus 50 or 60 for months and years, there are still more bad things or difficult things happening in the world. It is very challenging, and I suffer a lot, but I look at the positive side."

Jhingan is currently playing for ATK Mohun Bagan in the Indian Super League, having come back from an unproductive stint in Croatia, where he did not get to play any competitive game owing to an 'injury'.

On bubble life, the Chandigarh-born centre-back elaborated, "(It is) part of the job, it is difficult. You miss your parents, you miss your family, you miss your brothers, it is hard, you are here and time is passing by, parents are getting old, of course you feel like 'wish I could be home'.

"But that is what we choose as a sportsperson. We miss a lot of our personal life, it is always secondary, so before we turned professional we knew that if we go on this path, life is always going to be the last thing (and) the main thing is just work."

According to Jhingan, not being able to play in the ISL or international matches would have been more frustrating for him.

"What is happening now, it is so unpredictable, nobody expected it, so you can't blame anyone, we just have to ride with it, accept it because it will be more frustrating if the league won't be happening, if there would be no international matches happening, that would be more frustrating for me."

"I am happy that the games are happening and life goes on," he said.

Speaking about the great Sunil Chhetri, who has been his captain, Jhingan said, "The more you say, the less it is about Sunil Paaji."

"He has been a great servant of the country. Learned a lot from him, but if I could pick one thing, it would be nutrition."

"I remember when we were in U-23, he came as a senior in the Asian Games and that time this nutrition thing was not followed that much in my group. He introduced that to us and we all learned about it and got into it, then we reaped the benefits of it."

Recently, Jhingan signed a multi-year deal with sportswear giant adidas.

On the partnership, he said, "Personally, if I talk about myself, it is the brand which we only talk about in my city Chandigarh and among my friends. It was something that we initially fell in love with. We all started watching football and there was the World Cup and there were adidas balls." 

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