Football for players who are blind or partially sighted in Australia has taken huge strides over the past three years thanks to the hard work and dedication of organisers.
Efforts to develop opportunities countrywide by Australian Blind Football culminated in national camps in Melbourne in May and Sydney in July this year, with athletes coming together from across the country to participate in the training camps.
Following the July camp teams were selected to travel abroad to represent Australia in blind football (B1) and partially sighted football (B2/B3 category) for the very first time in September this year.
Dave Connolly, the national co-ordinator and driving force behind the development and growth of the game in the country, was delighted by the team announcements:
“It’s been a long road to get to this point, but we have some really exciting times ahead. Our players and coaching staff know they are a long way behind other countries, but they are all looking forward to the challenge.”
“The creation of Australia’s newest national football teams is pretty amazing, and I am honoured to have played my part in getting all of the players and coaches to this point. Now it’s over to them to represent the green and gold with pride and take on the world.”
Caption: B1 squad photo.
The inaugural Australian Blind Football (B1) team is:
Amir Abdi (Captain), Brendan Spencer (Vice Captain), Shae Skinner, Andrew Close (all Victoria), Nathan Letts (Queensland) and Nathan Meneses (Goalkeeper - Victoria)
Coaching staff: Michael Roski, Igor Negrao, David Connolly and Simon Kaplun (Team Manager).
The team will head to Kochi, India, from 17th to 22nd September for a series of matches and joint training sessions with the India Blind Football team. This will be the first international competition for the team who preparing to compete in their first Asian Blind Football (B1) Championships next year.
Team captain Amir Abdi expressed his pride at the announcement:
“It is a great honour to be selected Captain of the Australian Blind Football team. I hope with my ability I can make Australia proud.”
The inaugural Australian Vision Impaired Futsal (B2/B3) team is:
Steve Obeid (Vice Captain), Ned Brewer-Maiga, John Boland (Victoria), Sean Brown, Nick Haydardedeoglu (Captain), Oscar Stubbs, Ethan Scaturchio (New South Wales), Steffan Nero (Western Australia), Matt McCarthy, Scott Dann (Queensland), Simon Briffa (Goalkeeper – Victoria)
Coaching staff: Michael Roski, Stephanie Taylor, Igor Negrao and Vince Scaturchio (Team Manager).
The team will head to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, from 23rd to 28th September for a series of matches and joint training sessions with the Malaysia Vision Impaired squad. This will also be their first international competition, with the team starting their preparation for the next Vision Impaired Futsal World Championships which will be held in 2021.
Caption: the vision impaired (B2/B3) squad poses for a family photo.
Team skipper Nick Haydardedeoglu was understandably excited at the prospect of the trip to Malaysia:
“Being selected as the first captain of the vision impaired national team is a huge thrill that carries a large responsibility with a team that needs all the qualities of a leader, especially the ability to communicate well at all times. I’m honoured and privileged to be in that position.”
Congratulations to all players and coaching staff for their selection and we wish them all the best for the competitions.
Australian Blind Football and Blind Sports Australia
would like to acknowledge the support of Football Federation Australia
, Australian Paralympic Committee
, Australian Sports Foundation
, IBSA Football and Their Beautiful Game
For media enquiries leading up to these overseas competitions please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Caption: the two squads and coaching staff together.