Almaty played host last weekend to a training weekend to bring blind football to Kazakhstan.
The training sessions, held at the FC Kairat
academy on the outskirts of the city and involving ten players and ten coaches, have set the foundations to introduce the game in Kazakhstan and Eurasia.
-funded IBSA Blind Football Development Project Europe
is taking the game to new parts of the continent and the world, and with strong support from FC Kairat, one of the leading clubs in the country, the future for blind football in Kazakhstan is looking bright.
The workshops were delivered by IBSA Football Committee chair Ulrich Pfisterer, who was impressed with the set up and the team’s potential: “The training sessions have gone very well and I believe the team has a great future. I was very impressed with the support from FC Kairat to set up the programme and it is an example of how to integrate blind football within a major club. It’s a good practise that other football clubs should follow.”
“We will continue to support Kazakhstan’s efforts to develop the game, and we look forward to welcoming the Kazakh national team to IBSA tournaments soon”, added Pfisterer.
Caption: players, coaches and IBSA officials line up for a group photo.
FC Kairat Blind Football captain Kanat Akymbaev was delighted with the workshops. Twenty-six year old Kanat is chair of the Organisation of People with Disabilities in the city and a star player in the newly-formed team. Akymaev said: “I’ve only been playing for two months now, but blind football is good for our health and it helps us develop our spatial awareness and build up our self-confidence in all areas of our daily life. When I’m playing I forget I’m blind and I feel at home on the pitch. All the players are blind and we understand each other.”
“These workshops are helping us gain a deeper understanding of how to play blind football and teaching us how to play properly. All the exercises and drills we are performing with Ulrich are excellent and will help us to improve. The approach is easy to learn and follow, but it’s serious and tough. Ulrich has shared his knowledge, expertise and experience with us to enable us to develop blind football in Kazakhstan”, he added.
Caption: FC Kairat blind football captain Kanat Akymbaev.
Akymaev went on to explain his hopes for the future as skipper of the FC Kairat team: “We have strong support from the club - from the administration and all the coaches - and we’ll work hard to develop and improve the game in the country. Our goal is to play at international level and represent Kazakhstan, competing in tournaments and maybe looking to qualify for Tokyo 2020. In short, our aims are to develop, grow, improve and win.”
FC Kairat coach and team co-ordinator Chingis Temerkhanov thanked the IBSA Blind Football team for travelling to Kazakhstan to deliver the workshops and for the donations of balls and eyeshades to the team and the local school for the blind.
Temerkhanov highlighted the ambitious plans in place to expand blind football nationwide: “FC Kairat is developing an Equality Plan to roll out the game in the whole country. We will meet with potential sponsors soon to seek additional support, and the aim is to set up a national blind football youth league. There are nine schools for the blind in Kazakhstan and we plan to visit all of them and hold workshops to introduce the game to the children, the staff and parents.”
“If we find a sponsor we’ll be able to provide equipment and strips to all the schools and stage a national youth tournament. The project does not need a lot of funding and we’re confident sponsors will be very interested in getting involved.”
For more information on the IBSA Blind Football Development Project Europe contact email@example.com
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Caption: UEFA #EqualGame/Respect logo.