Coming from the same families, these players have made their parents proud and have set an example for the rest of the country.
Over the years, we’ve seen several pairs of siblings in football, making a name for the family while playing for different clubs. Some of the first sibling pairs in football that appear in one’s mind are Yaya and Kolo Toure, Eden and Thorgan Hazard and so on. It is not uncommon in Indian football either, where we’ve seen siblings taking over the sport and making it a family business.
Let’s take a look at the top five pairs of siblings in Indian football:
5. Rakesh and Bekey Oram
Coming from Odisha, brothers Rakesh and Bekey Oram both made a name for themselves at a very young age. Rakesh, the elder one, began his journey by helping Sambaipur win a state-level inter-school tournament in Bhubaneswar in 2012.
From there, he went on to represent the India U-19 national team in the Asian Championship Trophy in Thailand, where he scored twice in three games. Rakesh’s career, however, slowed down thereafter, as he barely grabbed some minutes at Mumbai City in ISL 2016 and 2017-18. He was last part of the Bengaluru FC ‘B’ team in the 2018-19 season.
His brother, Bekey, on the other hand, is currently plying his trade with the Bengaluru FC ‘B’ team and the club rate him highly. He was part of the national team that participated in the SAFF U-15 Championship in 2017 as well as the AFC U-16 Championship Qualifiers the same year. At 18, Bekey still has a chance to make it to the big stage, if he continues to impress the Blues’ coaches.
4. Prabhsukhan and Gursimrat Singh Gill
Another sibling pair which was once associated with Bengaluru FC is Prabhsukhan and Gursimrat Singh Gill. Both began their different journeys as youths at Chandigarh Football Academy, followed by the AIFF Elite Academy.
A defender by trade, Gursimrat was then picked by Bengaluru FC for the 2016-17 I-League season. He also made his AFC Cup debut in 2017 in a 2-0 win over Abahani Dhaka. Gursimrat then joined Indian Super League side NorthEast United the following season and even scored a goal for them. He returned to Bengaluru thereafter and after spending a couple more seasons with them, joined I-League 2020-21 newcomers Sudeva Delhi.
Prabhsukhan, on the other hand, joined the Indian Arrows after graduating from the AIFF Elite Academy. He was selected for the India squad in the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2017. Later, Bengaluru FC signed him before the 2019-20 season. The 20-year-old goalkeeper hasn’t received much game-time in the ISL yet, but will be hoping to become the No. 1 at his new club Kerala Blasters in the forthcoming seasons.
3. Nikhil and Vinil Poojary
Karnataka-based Nikhil and Vinil Poojary are one of the most popular sibling pairs in Indian football. Nikhil, the elder one, has had a distinguished career so far. He has plied his trade with many top flight clubs including East Bengal and the then FC Pune City. The 25-year-old proved his talent in the Indian Super League and has also been in and around the Indian national team over the years. Currently at Hyderabad FC, the versatile player will look to continue his energetic performances under Manolo Marquez.
His brother Vinil Poojary too is one of the top performers at Churchill Brothers. The 23-year-old helped his side finish on top of the I-League standings in the first phase of the 2020-21 season. Unfortunately, Fernando Santiago Varela’s men missed out on the title by a whisker to Gokulam Kerala on the final day. Nevertheless, Vinil Poojary delivered yet another positive season and will be hoping to play in the ISL soon.
2. Soosairaj and Regin Michael
Champion brothers Soosairaj and Regin have set an example for many in Indian football. The duo played together at Chennai City FC in the I-League 2017-18 season, where Soosairaj was adjudged the best midfielder of the campaign.
His promising display left the scouts at Jamshedpur FC impressed and he signed for the Men of Steel for the ISL 2018-19 season. Soosairaj continued with his magnificent footwork under then Jamshedpur boss Cesar Ferrando and earned a fan following in Indian football. Regin on the other hand too had a commendable 2018-19 season in the I-League as he helped Chennai City clinch their first-ever title.
Looking at the brothers’ quality, ATK roped in both ahead of the 2019-20 season. It turned out be a very fruitful move for the Kolkata club, as they went on to lift the ISL title under Antonio Habas. Much was expected from the duo in 2020-21 too, but Soosairaj sustained a season-ending injury in the very first game of the campaign, while 32-year-old Regin could only clock 28 minutes overall. Nevertheless, having won the ISL title together, the duo is the only sibling pair in history to achieve that feat.
1. Amarjit Singh Kiyam, Jeakson and Kritina Thounaojam
Manipur-based Amarjit Singh Kiyam, Jeakson Singh and Kritina Devi Thounaojam belong to a rare family full of national footballers. Amarjit and Jeakson set the stage on fire during the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2017. While the former was the Blue Colts’ captain during the tournament, the latter created history by scoring India’s first-ever goal in a World Cup.
Amarjit, who plays for FC Goa, continues to make the family proud as he is currently part of their historic AFC Champions League squad. Meanwhile, Jeakson is one of the promising youngsters at Kerala Blasters and is hoping to become a mainstay at the club in the coming years.
Taking inspiration from her siblings, Kritina Devi too has taken to professional football. She was part of the Manipur squad at the National Championships in 2016-17 as well as the national team squad for the SAFF age-group tournaments. In 2018, she was a member of the national squad at the AFC U-16 Women’s Championship 2019 Qualifiers in Mongolia.
“I was inspired to play football seeing my brothers. Amarjit and Jeakson taught me so much. It will be a proud moment if we have three World Cuppers from the family,” Kritina, a probable for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, told AIFF in an interview last year.