The newly-formed Australian blind football national team has reached another development milestone by successfully competing in its first international tournament in Kochi, India.
The Aussies made the trip to South Asia from September 17th to 23rd, and were thoroughly tested against their Indian counterparts in a series of joint training sessions and two matches.
Australia battled fiercely against India, showing a fighting spirit and raw desire to compete, but the hosts came out victorious in the two matches, with the final scores 2-0 and 5-0.
Following the friendly matches, both teams participated in a combined training session, focusing on ball control, shooting, fitness and conditioning. The trip concluded on the 23rd with an exchange of gifts and national team shirts.
Caption: the Australia blind football team poses for a photo.
Dave Connolly, the Australian National Team Co-Ordinator, felt the trip was a progressive learning curve for the Aussies:
“We had a great time in Kochi. We had two tough games, but the players and coaches have learned so much. We will host four national team camps in 2019 for our debut at the IBSA Blind Football Asian Championships, which will provide us with an opportunity to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games Football 5-a-Side competition in Japan.”
Amongst the five Aussie players was Shae Skinner, the only female representing Australia during the international matches. Shae has been part of all the Australian blind football camps this year, and feels honoured to achieve her childhood dream of representing her country:
“It was a privilege to be selected for the national team’s trip to India. It was a great experience that I won’t forget. I want to get more women interested in blind football so we can create the first Australian women’s blind football national team.”
The attention thereafter turned to the Australian B2-B3 national futsal team, who competed in their first international competition against Malaysia in the country’s capital – Kuala Lumpur.
Caption: Australia and Malaysia B2-B3 futsal family photo with referees and volunteers.
The first day began with a joint training session and the first match took place the next day, with Australia narrowly losing 7-5. Australia’s persistence and competitive edge paid off as they won the second game 6-5 to record their first competitive victory. The third and final match was won by Malaysia 3-0, but the close scorelines indicate the potential talent within the Australian B2-B3 National Team.
The Australian B2-B3 national futsal team, similarly to the Australian blind football national team, took home many lessons from the trip and will continue to prepare for their anticipated debut at the 2021 IBSA Partially Sighted Futsal World Championships.
Keep up to date with the progress of B1 football and B2-B3 futsal in Australia by on the teams’ Facebook page
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Caption: Australia and India post-tournament team photo.