“I would tell my dad that I beat his team” – Kiyan Nassiri Giri recollects his Kolkata Derby heroics

The Kolkata Derby has a special meaning for all the faithful supporters of Mohun Bagan Super Giant and East Bengal FC. However, its significance embraces an altogether fascinating shape in the Nassiri household, with father Jamshid Nassiri who is an East Bengal FC stalwart and son Kiyan Nassiri Giri who is one of the prominent prospects of the Mariners. Kiyan joined Mohun Bagan Super Giant as a youth star in 2019 and has steadily worked his way up to become an important member of the first team.

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, the IFA Shield amongst other top honours with the Red & Gold Brigade back in the 1980s.

For Kiyan to find 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.

“I would tell my dad that I beat his team”

“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 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,” he 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 that ‘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.”

“Football was always the path I wanted to choose and go by”

Coming from 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 the 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.

“I 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 signs off.

The tenth season of the ISL will host its maiden Kolkata Derby at the Salt Lake Stadium on February 3. Whilst East Bengal FC comes 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. Let’s get the ball rolling, shall we?

Also Read: Maharashtra Oranje FC secures commanding 3-0 win, climbs to 2nd Position in I League 2

Also Read: Meghalaya Football Team clinches Khelo India Youth Games 2023 Championship with dominant 2-0 victory over Punjab

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