I would tell my dad that I beat his team, says Kiyan Nassiri Giri on his Kolkata Derby heroics

The Kolkata Derby does not open a chasm in the Nassiri household even though Jamshed Nassiri had represented East Bengal FC

Kolkata, Jan 30 (IANS) The Kolkata Derby does not open a chasm in the Nassiri household even though Jamshed Nassiri had represented East Bengal FC for a long while his Kiyan Nassiri Giri is a member of the Mohun Bagan Super Giant system and is hoping to cement a permanent spot in the Mariners’ lineup.

Whilst he goes about cementing a spot in the starting XI, Kiyan made heads turn in January 2022, when he scored a hat-trick against East Bengal FC to help the Mariners to a victory in the famous Kolkata Derby in the ISL. His father Jamshid has a special association with East Bengal FC, having won the Federation Cup, and the IFA Shield amongst other top honours with the Red & Gold Brigade back in the 1980s.

For Kiyan, who joined Mohun Bagan as a youth star in 2019 and has steadily worked his way up to become an important member of the first team, finding his calling for their arch-rivals against the same team surely made heads turn within the family. Having come on as a substitute for Deepak Tangri, Kiyan struck thrice in the last 30 minutes to become the youngest hat-trick scorer in ISL history.

This has now given the son bragging rights over his father.

I would tell my dad, I beat his team: Kiyan

“To me, it was very shocking. Because I didn’t really think of it as a big thing. But it was very massive, not just for me and my family but also for all the supporters. My dad has played for East Bengal FC his whole life and I am on the other side. I was living in the moment, but thinking now also, it’s the past now and hence I look forward to the next derby,” Kiyan recollects the reception he received after the match.

Kiyan adds, “At home, it’s not really any rivalry. They just want me to play and do well, wherever that is, whether it’s a big team or a small team. But yeah like initially I would make fun of my dad, ‘You know, I beat your team.’ Plus, I scored, so he would just laugh it off. My parents are just really happy about where I am and what I have been doing.”

The tenth season of the ISL will host its maiden Kolkata Derby at the Salt Lake Stadium on February 3. Whilst East Bengal FC come into the match on the back of a phenomenal victory in the Kalinga Super Cup, Mohun Bagan Super Giant will be equally upbeat and keen to prove a point under the tutelage of new head coach Antonio Lopez Habas.

‘Football was always my choice’

Coming from a footballing lineage, there is pressure on Kiyan’s shoulders to live up to the legacy of his father. Jamshid was born in the Iranian city of Khorramshahr and he first forayed into Indian football by signing for East Bengal FC in 1980. He was heralded as one of the most expensive foreign recruits back then and he also turned up for another giant of Kolkata football -– Mohammedan SC.

Jamshid developed a fondness for India and decided to stay back in the City of Joy after hanging his boots as a player. Despite such a profound footballing background, Kiyan says that the professional conversations between the two of them are limited to sharing routine pleasantries.

“Football was always the path I wanted to choose and go by. My father and mother played a big role in it. They supported it. I was really happy about it, but again, conversations with my father are not really football-based. It’s just small pointers here and there, but it’s not like how everyone would expect me to go home and him sitting me down to talk about the game,” he says.

‘Want to play for the Indian national team’

Like most promising players, Kiyan hopes to make the most of the opportunity to turn up in the top tier and thus subsequently get called up for the Blue Tigers. Kiyan speaks richly about the influence of foreign internationals and seasoned coaches that are a part of the competition, and he is constantly striving to become a regular starter for the Mariners and then realise his aspirations of playing international football.

“For me, ISL is actually the biggest league in India, and it’s very important because young boys want to play this league and you have to do really well in the ISL to get a spot in the national team. I am obviously one of them who wants to play in the national team. It’s a very big league with a lot of good teams, with teams coming in every year. It’s a big opportunity for players across India and I am very happy to be a part of the ISL,” Kiyan said.

Football rivalries have divided people all over the world and loyalty to clubs is such a deep-rooted feeling that not many players have traversed this chasm. The Nassiri household is one such entity that has bridged the chasm.

–IANS/bsk/

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