Jamshid Nassiri left Iran and became a Maidan legend in Kolkata. Now, he hopes his son Kiyan will play for India

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About eight years ago, a fresh-faced teenager showed up at the Mohun Bagan-CFC camp with his father. The young man was full of bubbly that made him instantly adorable. The presence of his father, Jamshid Nassiri, made viewers more curious to see how the young Kiyan performed on the pitch. Jamshid was an East Bengal legend, a major player in the famous Majid (Bishkar)-Jamshid partnership in the 1980s. From the beginning, Kiyan Nassiri had a rich footballing legacy.

Across the divide, the center line to be precise, where Bagan youth train side by side with their CFC counterparts, the trained eye of Amiya Ghosh, the coach of the green and maroon youth team, saw promise in the young Kyyan. “One day I approached Jamshid and told him to give us his son instead of her playing for CFC. He accepted. That’s when he started the journey,” Ghosh recounts. the indian express.

From U-13, Kiyan’s progression to U-15 was seamless. In between, he had played for the Bengal U-14s, following his father’s advice. “Aspire to play for your country, India. I think that’s the only advice I’ve given Kiyan since he started playing football. Otherwise, I don’t usually talk to him about his game, ”recalls Jamshid.

After the delight of the derby, the bar has been raised a little more. “Playing for India should be Kiyan’s next goal. And he must work harder and aim for the best Asian or European leagues within three or four years,” Jamshid tells this newspaper.

Football transcends geographical borders. In 1979, Jamshid came to India from Iran to continue his studies at Aligarh University. A year later, when the club was facing a mass exodus of players to Mohammedan Sporting, two East Bengal recruiters ran into him and his close friends Majid and Mahmood Khabaji during an inter-university football tournament. He followed a change to Calcutta. Majid was the star of the pack, while Jamshid would always play second fiddle to his most talented companion.

To this day, Majid remains unarguably the best foreign footballer to ever play in India. But his life lacked discipline, which contributed to his rapid decline and inglorious return to Iran. Jamshid had a longer and more successful career because he embraced the discipline. Little by little, he made India his adoptive home and Kiyan was born here in November 2000, as an Indian citizen.

In the 1960s and 1970s Calcutta was the birthplace of Indian football and some fantastic coaches like Achyut Banerjee and Khokon Mallick for example at grassroots level contributed to that. Good coaches at the youth level are in very short supply in this city at the moment. Men like Ghosh are exceptions. Not only did he take care of Kiyan’s soccer, but the Bagan youth coach made sure that his ward had a healthy development.

‘Willing to learn’

“Kiyan made my job easy, because he was always willing to learn. He trained by himself, polishing his shot and other aspects of his game, after our scheduled practice sessions were over. His father would wait outside the sidelines until Kiyan finished. That was Jamshid’s mental support for his son,” says Ghosh.

Circa 2019 was Kiyan’s breakthrough year. It was the sensational in a U-19 tournament organized by a television channel. He took him to Bagan’s senior team tryout, where he impressed then-club coach Kibu Vicuna. Kiyan got a professional contract.

Jamshid thanks Vicuna for the development of his son. He praises ATK Mohun Bagan head coach Juan Ferrando for giving Kiyan the opportunity to showcase his talent in the Indian Super League derby. Ferrando resisted the urge to bring in a half-fit Roy Krishna and fielded the youngster in his place, despite chasing the match against SC East Bengal. Prior to this, Kiyan’s appearances had been restricted to much shorter cameos, only five to ten minutes on the pitch. With 30 minutes to prove himself, Kiyan emerged as a star, becoming the youngest player to score a derby hat-trick.

The 21-year-old injected life into a derby that was perceived as losing relevance. For starters, with no crowd present and games in Goa instead of Kolkata, derbies have become ghost games for the past two years. The current situation of SC East Bengal has made things worse. While ATK Mohun Bagan is playing to win the title, their arch-rivals would have been in a relegation fight if the ISL weren’t a closed league, with no promotion or relegation.

When the tournament, which has been scored with COVID-19 forced postponements, was becoming a drag due to average performances and even poorer refereeing, Kiyan came as a breath of fresh air, reminding us that all was not yet lost in Indian football.

Bhutia-like effervescence

He carried an effervescence similar to that of Bhaichung Bhutia, not the Bhutia of the 1997 Fed Cup semi-final crop, where he scored a hat-trick against Bagan, but a few years earlier when former Indian centre-back Tarun Dey ended his career in a derby , through its twists, turns and shoulder drops. Bhutia went on to play for Bury FC in England. For Kiyan, he has a long way to go to emulate the former captain of the Indian soccer team.

No wonder then that he maintained equanimity. “There is nothing to celebrate. We went back to our hotel after the match, had dinner and slept,” Kiyan told club media. About his father, he said: “He never set a goal for me. He just tells me to work hard.”

The ISL second leg derby saw a star rise and Indian national football team manager Igor Stimac must have taken note. “Kiyan needs to add muscle mass to graduate in international football. He has a natural ability to score goals. His shooting and finishing are very good. He plays his soccer with his brain. But his control of the ball requires improvement and more importantly he has to be stronger physically,” says Ghosh.

Until then, according to the coach of his youth team, Kiyan would be better used as a winger, not a striker.

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