For the first time ever, Goans will get to enjoy a football game in which the players do not rely on their eyes but mostly their ears, yes, that’s true! And that is the charm of ‘Blind Football’. The Goan chapter of National Association for the Blind along with FC Goa and Chowgule Sports Center is organising a demo game on September 3, 2017 between 2- 4pm at the Futsal Arena at the Chowgule Sports Center in Gogol, Margao. The aim is to introduce and encourage blind footballers to take up the game and ultimately form a state side in the future.
The demo game will see the participation of teams from Kerala and a mixed team from Bengaluru and Shillong. A few Indian international players and a few players from first team of FC Goa are set to amaze the crowd by attempting blindfolded penalty shootout.
How is Blind Football played?
According to an article published on FC Goa’s website, the game is explained as, ‘Blind Football is a 5-a-side game played in a Futsal ground of size 40 M X 20 M with the long sides blocked with sideboards . All players except the goal keeper sighted, assisted by a coach and a goal guide – players are required to cover their eyes with blindfolds compulsorily. The players are guided by the sound of the ball which has bells inside. The goal keeper, goal guide (who stays behind the opposite goal) and the coach (who runs along the sides) are the three sighted assistants who call out and direct the players to move with the ball. Each one of them has a distinct zone and are allowed to speak out or give directions only when the ball is in play in their respective zone. Similarly, to avoid clashes, any player approaching the ball, except the person in possession of the ball, is supposed to call out “voy” (which means ‘I am here’) in frequent intervals so that the person with the ball can tackle them and move away.’
Laying the foundation for the future
The first Blind Football Academy in the country is set to get operational at Kochi by mid September. This initiative is supported by the Tata Trusts. This event will allow new players to participate. Talents will be identified and brought on for a long term basis. They will be given intensive training, fitness, tactical skills.
The Indian Blind Football team holds a respectable rank of 23 in the world.
“We are pleased to be partnering with Indian Blind Football Federation (IBFF) to bring this demo game to Goa. In our conversations with the IBFF, it was apparent that this is an aspect of the sport that is really picking up and we’re keen to ensure that it has our support. We are committed to developing all aspects of football within Goa and this is another step in that direction. We hope that this demo game will act as a catalyst for Blind Football to activate interest in Goa and raise more awareness and get more people participating,” said Rahul Rodrigues, Vice- President, FC Goa
The IBFF along with its partners encourage all the football fans to make their presence felt at the demonstration this Sunday.