Exclusive Interview with Issey Nakajima Farran
After a long 8 years, Canadian International & former Albirex Niigata Singapore player, Issey Nakajima Farran returned to Singapore to play in Kenji & Aki Memorial Match last month! Junpiter Futbol managed to catch up with
After a long 8 years, Canadian International & former Albirex Niigata Singapore player, Issey Nakajima Farran returned to Singapore to play in Kenji & Aki Memorial Match last month! Junpiter Futbol managed to catch up with the striker for a quick chat!
JPF: How does it feel to be involved in the Kenji & Aki Memorial Match?
INF: It’s always amazing seeing the old faces and especially Ken-san who I started my career with in (Albirex) Niigata. He looked after me when I was a young guy. We have this word “Senpai”; it’s a guy (Senior) who’s looking after the young boys, especially some of the younger boys and myself. He has always been someone whom we look up to in the professional football world, like how he treats the media, friends, families, sponsors and fans. He’s always somebody whom we look up to and he’s always a captain to all of us. Aki-san too. He is a very close friend to us. He played a big part in our first year. He showed us Singapore. He made it easy for us to adapt to the country. These guys are the most respected guys for us in the Japanese world. This (match) is something really important for all of us to be a part of.
JPF: How did your early footballing days in Singapore contribute to your football development?
INF: I first came (to Singapore) 10 years ago for two years. Every young player needs to make a stand. And that was the time Albirex (Singapore) gave me the chance. They also gave me the chance back in Japan, Niigata when I was 18-years-old. When I was 19 or20, Albirex Singapore gave me the chance to show myself and make a mark, show what I can do. And Singapore actually gave me the Young Player of the Year Award back then. I hold that very proudly. And that gave me the connection to go abroad to Europe. So that was great for me.
JPF: You used to have dual citizenship – Japan & Canada. What eventually made you decide to take up Canadian citizenship?
INF: A lot of my Japanese family lives in Canada. Back then I was developing as a footballer in Japan, as well as playing in Singapore. I also started playing in Denmark’s top league at that time. My family had never seen me play football, they only watched me play on live stream. But playing for Canada, it gave them the chance to actually come to the stadium and watch me represent Canada. That was quite an easy choice for me.
JPF: You are also an artist off the pitch. In your opinion, how do you relate art to football?
INF: Art has always been just a hobby to me. It takes my mind off football. It’s an important thing especially as a player; you constantly need to refresh your mind in order to be creative on the pitch. Whenever I have a paintbrush in my hands, it gets my mind off football, and I just focus on being totally creative. Art has pushed my boundaries on a personal level as well. It began on a personal level, but then cafes started getting interested in purchasing my (art) pieces, followed by cinemas, galleries & etc. It all started clicking into place and it just kind of took off by itself.
JPF: Where do you see yourself progressing in the next 5 years?
INF: Next 5 years? I came out of a massive situation in Cyprus. You know Cyprus isn’t the most stable place for any player so I just came out of that situation. And we have a new coach for Canada, Benito Floro – an experienced Spanish coach. We will see what comes up in this January window and hopefully I will move to a place that challenging.