“India wasn’t an official FIFA playing nation in 2018, but Mesut Ozil and his team’s faith in me changed my career completely”: Siddh “Jenasid” Chandarana, FIFAe athlete, Indian National Team

Jenasid was the first esports athlete to represent India in an official FIFA tournament
Jenasid was the first esports athlete to represent India in an official FIFA tournament

India has finally set foot in the official FIFA esports scene. Mumbai’s Siddh “Jenasid” Chandarana is one of the first two players to represent the nation in an international FIFA esports tournament.

The 20-year-old has been a football freak since childhood. Jenasid dreamt of playing for India while he was in school, but his health issues became a matter of grave concern. He was soon diagnosed with allergic bronchitis and had to give up on football, leaving the green grounds forever.

But fate had other plans as Jenasid was soon hooked to the virtual version of the game: FIFA esports. He began playing the game’s PlayStation version with absolute passion and soon achieved mastery.

Jenasid is now living his dreams as he recently played for India in the playoffs of FIFAe Nations Online Qualifiers, finishing third in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region.

In an exclusive conversation with Sportskeeda Esports’ Sayantan Chowdhury, the Indian national FIFA esports star opened up about his professional career, personal life, and some of his thoughts on the future of the Indian esports scene.

Here is an excerpt from the interview.

Q. Siddh, before getting started, tell us a bit about your IGN, “Jenasid.” Was it a random pick, or do I sense an interesting story here?

Jenasid: I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s an interesting story. In earlier Fifa editions, we could make our own pro and play with it in every mode. Two of my brothers and I decided to make one, and we mixed all our names and came up with it. I’ve been carrying the name ever since.

IGN = Mixture of three names (Image via Jenasid | Facebook)
IGN = Mixture of three names (Image via Jenasid | Facebook)

Q. When did you think of taking up esports as your profession? Growing up in a country like India, where orthodoxies prevail, was it difficult for you to choose a nascent career like gaming in the first place?

Jenasid: I think, back in 2017, I got into competitive FIFA, and I had the chance to play in international tournaments. That’s when I thought I could do this full time because I could sense I had the talent. A year later, I signed for M10 Esports, which gave me the confidence I needed.

My parents have always been highly supportive, which helped me not worry that gaming was still a nascent industry, especially in a country like India. All that I’ve become today has a lot to do with my family. I owe it to them..

Q. For the first time, an Indian team participated in an official FIFAe tournament, and you were one of the two flag-bearers representing the country. You advanced to the playoffs and almost made it to the final stage of FIFAe Nations Cup 2021. What was your experience wearing the tricolor badge on an international stage, and your expectations from next season?

Jenasid: As a kid, you always dream about playing for your country, and for it to come true is a huge milestone for me. To wear the national jersey is an absolute honor, and I don’t think the feeling of pride can ever be topped.

We were very unfortunate to get out in the final, and I think we deserved more. I’m immensely proud of the way we played as a team throughout the tournament, but it’s a learning curve, and we will make sure we are better next year.

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Edited by Ravi Iyer
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