Indian blind football team does nation proud

Last Updated: Fri, Aug 30, 2013 12:15 hrs

The Indian national blind football team entered the semi-finals and finished fourth in its first ever international tournament outing which featured national teams from Iran, Russia, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Vietnam. This was a 7 nation international five-a-side B1 tournament organised at Bangkok between 20th and 22nd Aug 2013. 

This was a team put together by SRVC (Society for Rehabilitation of the Visually Challenged), an NGO working with the rehabilitation of the visually challenged based in Kochi since 2002 and IBSA (Indian Blind Sports Association, New Delhi). 

The Indian team drew with Hong Kong 1-1 in its first game, where Delhi star Ankur shot the lone goal. The lost to hosts Thailand and had to come through a penalty shootout with Hong Kong and Naufal T N ( from the SRVC Kerala Team) slammed home the deciding penalty to ensure a semi-final spot. Though the team lost to eventual tournament top-seeds and world no 5 Iran in the semi-finals, was a great exposure to the entire team.

The team comprised of five players from Delhi , three from Bengal and two from Kerala. The team was coached by A David and assisted by Ravi Consul with M C Roy being the 'blind escort' and Sunil J Mathew being the 'guide' behind the goal - making up the four officials who went along with the team. India was the only team that fielded a blind goalkeeper during all the matches as there was choice of having a sighted/regular futsal keeper or a B3 category (partially sighted) person.

This was the first ever Indian blind team to have been put together by IBSA and SRVC. The training camp was held at New Delhi between 5th and 15th Aug'13 and the team flew out to Bangkok from Chennai. The plan is to get a world class sporting facility to encourage sports for the differently-abled and run campaigns and road-shows across the country to bring forward talented footballers and sports persons from the sector to take up sport.