When I arrived in India, I felt I was coming home: Roy Krishna on his Indian roots, Bengaluru FC move and more

Roy Krishna is now a part of the story of Indian football thanks to his achievements since joining the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) in 2019.

In 60 matches in the Hero ISL, Krishna has scored 36 times and provided 18 assists playing for ATK FC and ATK Mohun Bagan. But ahead of Hero ISL 2022-23, Krishna has secured a move away from Kolkata and joined Bengaluru FC where he is set to script a new chapter of his story in India.

Krishna is a Fijian footballer with Indian roots. His great grandparents hailed from India before shifting base to Fiji in the late 19th century.

But for Krishna, despite being the third generation to be born and brought up in Fiji, the connection with India remains in form of language and food.

At home, he often used to communicate with his family in Hindi and there was an Indian touch to the food he ate.

“I was quite familiar with a lot of Indian things, so it wasn’t a surprise when I first came here,” Krishna told Mint Lounge in an interview.

“For instance, I’ve seen a lot of foreigners struggle with the food in India. On the other hand, I can eat more chillies than locals,” he added.

Krishna took to football due to his relatively smaller size which wasn’t best suitable for rugby which is the most popular sport in the country. His talent in football was always evident as he not just guided his school team to a place in a local tournament where he got the opportunity to have trails for the junior national team. He was picked for the Fiji U-20 team and the rest is history.

He scored a hat-trick on his national team debut in 2007 and has now gone on to become one of the top footballers in Fiji.

Krishna has always been intrigued about his Indian roots and when he got a chance to come to India in 2019, he was keen on exploring it. The striker felt he always felt at home in India ever since he set foot here.

“When I got here, the first thing I wanted to know from my sisters was which part of India my ancestors came from. Some say I look Goan, others say I could be Bihari,” Krishna said.

“What’s certain is that the moment I arrived here, I felt like I was coming home. It’s crazy how you get mobbed here, the way they chant your name. Honestly, I’m more Roy Krishna here than back home in Fiji,” he added.

The 34-year-old has made a bright start to life at Bengaluru FC having scored in both matches in the Durand Cup. For him, the decision to join the Blues from ATK Mohun bagan was an easy one.

“Bengaluru are one of the sides that I’ve always admired since I always found it hard to score against them. I spoke to the coach, Simon Grayson, to know of his plans. Then, of course, Sunil bhai (Sunil Chhetri) is at the club and there’s so much I can learn from him. So I knew it was a good idea to join them,” Krishna said.

Krishna and Chhetri are already showing signs of forging a potent partnership and could prove to be a huge asset for Bengaluru FC in the Hero ISL next season. The Blues lacked a goalscorer like Krishna last season and the Fijian’s arrival might be the missing piece in the jigsaw for Bengaluru FC who will be keen to get back to competing for top honours in the Hero ISL.

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