Japan defeated the female warriors from Las Guerreras in Córdoba, Argentina, 7-3 to win the Saitama City Normalization Cup on Saturday 24 February at the Rhinoceros Chemical Arena in Saitama City, Japan.
Organised by the Japan Blind Football Association, the sixth edition of the tournament hosted a women’s competition to support the development of the Japanese Women’s National Team, who won the inaugural IBSA Women’s Blind Football Tournament in Vienna, Austria, last May.
The Argentine team of Las Guerreras players broke the deadlock early on with a goal from Yohana Aguilar and she scored another five minutes after. Japan immediately retaliated in the ninth minute as 15-year-old Kikushima Sora dribbled the ball at lightening speed on the counter to bring a goal back for the hosts. Kikushima then found the net twice in the eighteenth and nineteenth minute to complete a hattrick in the first half and put Japan in the lead. She continued her goal scoring momentum in the second half and scored a brace in six minutes, which was shortly followed by a goal from Japan’s Satioh Maika
Yohana scored another goal to complete her hattrick, but Japan’s Kikushima returned with another goal in the nineteenth minute to complete a double hattrick and end the game 7-3 to Japan. Kikushima Sora won the Most Valuable Player award, whilst Argentina’s Yohana Aguilar was prized with the Most Important Player award.
Caption: Japan’s 15-year-old star player Kikushima Sora takes a shot at goal.
“I was able to score six goals through the support of my teammates, coaches and the spectators. If it weren’t for everyone, I wouldn’t have scored so many,” Kikushima Sora said after receiving the Most Valuable Player award.
“Although we conceded early, we managed to control the game throughout the forty minutes. Through blind football, we are slowly changing the perception of disability in Japanese society. Girls with visual impairment want to play football,” added Japanese Head Coach Shigeo Muarkami
A record number of 1,007 people spectated the ten-goal thriller match, which also featured cheerleading at half-time, a Japanese drum performance and blind football awareness stall at the indoor venue. For the first time ever in the Normalization Cup, a women referee officiated the match.
IBSA Blind Football would like to congratulate both Japan and Argentina on participating in the first female-specific competition of the Normalization Cup.
Keep up with the development of women’s blind football in both countries by liking their Facebook page: Japan Blind Football Association
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Did you know that Blind Football is called Burasaka in Japan and Futbol Para Ciegos in Argentina?
Caption: logo for the Saitama City Normalization Cup