The IBSA Football Committee is commited to developing the sport worldwide and spreading the game to the widest possible number of countries.
One of the main areas for development and growth in recent years is Africa, which has huge potential to become one of the powerhouse regions in the sport.
The committee has invested significant human and financial resources in several African countries in recent years, including in Ghana and Botswana.
Another country to come through recently is Nigeria, where the Bina Foundation has taken blind football to new heights.
The Bina Foundation for People with Special Needs is a Non-Government Organisation committed to improving the life outcomes, personal development and social inclusion of people with special needs in the South East of Nigeria.
On 12th April 2017, at Union Secondary School in Enugu, Bina Foundation held an inauguration day for the creation of Bina Blind Football Club, the first blind football club in the South East of Nigeria.
Founder and President of Bina Foundation, Lady Ifeoma Atuegwu, established the club to allow visually impaired people to feel socially included within their community and experience the benefits of participating in sport. The newly-formed club has more than a hundred players to date. The players come from seven South Eastern States: Anambra, Abia, Cross River States, Ebonyi, Delta, Enugu and Imo, and over a dozen players were selected to participate in a series of matches at the inauguration.
A large group of spectators attended the inauguration and were amazed at the skill and technique displayed during the matches. The inauguration also caught the interest of Dr E.O. Chukwuma (Archbishop of Enugu Province and Bishop of Enugu Diocese Anglican Communion), who opened kick-off to the first match that marked the beginning of Bina Blind Football Club.
Dr E.O. Chukwuma: “Blind football is one of the sports played in the Paralympics Nigeria does not have representatives; I believe that with the introduction of Bina Blind Football Club as one of its kind in the country, Nigeria would participate in the next Paralympics.”
Women's blind football
The Foundation also believes in gender equality in sport, and has recently developed a female blind football programme, which is the first of its kind in Nigeria. The first female blind football camp was from 21st to 26th August in which thirty females participated from the seven South Eastern states previously mentioned.
The training camp initially focused on introducing the concept of blind football under IBSA rules. The camp then focused on practical sessions and looked at ball control, communication skills, game specific situations, orientation and tactical elements of the game.
The positive engagement from the females resulted in a second camp being run from 4th September until 9th September.
Caption: Nancy Aneke poses with a ball.
Nancy Aneke, pictured above, was initially reluctant to participate in blind football. However, she decided to take part after her friend showed interested, and Nancy has never looked back since participating:
“Blind football has given me an avenue to showcase my skills and determination. I am now more disciplined because playing the game of football has given me a sense of teamwork and collaboration. Although I am blind, I am now recognized as a footballer”.
Bina Foundation intends to work with the government, Nigerian Football Federation and other sports organisations to achieve their long-term development plans. The Foundation’s next plan is to build Bina Blind Football Club into a professional side that can compete in international blind football tournaments.
Caption: action picture from the women's camp.
IBSA Blind Football would like to congratulate Bina Foundation and Lady Ifeoma Atuegwu on creating the first blind football club in Southern Eastern Nigeria, and look forward to the club’s progress!
ASAMCI and APICAMCI have advanced to the final of the Ivory Coast Blind Football Championships, hosted by the Fédération Ivoirienne des Sports pour Malvoyants et Aveugles.
ASAMCI defeated ASDVY 2-0 and APICAMCI beat CSAD 2-1 in the semi-finals last Saturday. The final will take place next Saturday.
Caption: semi-finals day in the Ivory Coast.