The Indian Blind Football Federation and Society for Rehabilitation of the Visually Challenged (SRVC) will be conducting the first-ever Blind Football Demo game in Goa with an aim to introduce the sport and to encourage blind footballers to take up the game and form a state side in the future.
The Goan chapter of National Association for the Blind, along with FC Goa and Chowgule Sports Center, is organizing the demo game on September 3 at the Futsal Arena at the Chowgule Sports Center in Gogol, Margao.
The game will have a team from Kerala and a mixed team from Bengaluru and Shillong. FC Goa players will participate in a blindfolded penalty shootout after the game.
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.
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.
Sunil Mathew, head coach of the Indian national blind football team, said "The Indian blind football team is ranked 23rd in the world and we are hoping to take the momentum forward with this event. Will give a chance to new players to participate and also help improve the game further. The first blind football academy in the country is set to get operational at Kochi by mid-September, and talents will be identified and brought on for a long term basis offering intensive training, fitness, tactical skills. Tata Trusts is supporting this initiative on a long term basis."
With interest in football for Goa high, the IBFF along with its partners encourages football loving fans to come and attend a demonstration this Sunday.