Former Atletico Madrid striker Nikola Kalinic played for Sibenik in his early days …
Sandesh Jhingan joined the Croatian First Division Football League, HNK Sibenik, earlier this week for the upcoming 2021/22 season. The 28-year-old becomes the latest addition to an elite list of players who have gone to Europe to practice their trades.
Sibenik is one of the oldest outfits in Croatia, as it was founded in 1932 with the name Radnicko sportsko drustvo Sibenik (Workers’ Sport Association Šibenik). Several notable players have crowned Sibenik’s jersey over the years. From Slaven Bilic to Nikola Kalinic in the early 2000s, a myriad of top players have defended the summit of Sibenik. Let’s look at some of them.
The 1998 World Cup bronze medalist for Croatia borrowed a season from Sibenik. In 1988, he joined Sibenik of Hajduk Split and made 33 appearances. Although he was a center-back, he scored seven goals for Sibenik. During this time he is considered by veteran coach Milan Ribar to be one of the best defenders, and he will serve Croatia for almost a decade.
‘There was a good stop line in Hajduk, Nikola Jerkan and Jerko Tipurić, and if one of them was suspended due to a yellow card, I called him from Šibenik and he was ready to play for the first team. If you remember, double registration was allowed when a player could play for two clubs in a season, ‘said Petar Nadoveza, then coach of Hajduk Split.
In the play-off match for third place in the 1998 World Cup, he teamed up with the current head coach of India, Igor Stimac, in the heart of the defense, beating the Netherlands 2-1.
The forward borrowed him from Sibenik at Hajduk Split in 2007. He was a sidekick at Hadjuk and to get more action in the first team, he was sent to Sibenik. He was impressed with his goal as he passed three times in just eight games. Thanks to his performances in these eight games, he was recalled from the loan and in the 2007-08 season he established himself as a regular in his mother club and scored 17 goals in 25 games.
The former Croatian international is a youth product of HNK Sibenik. After studying at the academy, he got the chance to play in the first team through the then manager Stanko Mrsic in a league match against Kamen Ingrad. He was then only 16. He spent six years at Sibenik before joining Dinamo Zagreb in 2007. The move came after Schildenfeld played a key role in advancing Sibenik to the highest level in the 2005-06 season. In 2021, he returns to his youth club and plays 21 games, helping them finish sixth on the table.
The defender played 29 matches for the Croatian national team. He played all the group stage matches in Euro 2012 against Spain, Italy and Ireland. His last appearance for the runners-up of the 2018 World Cup was against the Czech Republic in Euro 2016.