We look back at what has been an incredible year for blind football! Here are some of the top moments from 2018…
Argentina wins the inaugural IBSA Blind Football Grand Prix
‘Los Murciélagos’ (The Bats) lifted the first IBSA Blind Football Grand Prix title in Tokyo, Japan, after defeating England in the final 2-0 on penalties. Maximiliano Espinillo and Nico Véliz successfully converted from the six-metre spot for Argentina to take home gold.
Argentinean defender Froilán Padilla won the Most Valuable Player Award while captain Espinillo picked up the Top Goal Scorer Award.
Caption: Nico Veliz celebrates scoring the winning penalty for Argentina to take gold at the IBSA Blind Football Grand Prix (image © JBFA).
Brazil retains the IBSA Blind Football World Championship title
The most prestigious blind football title available was claimed by Brazil for the fifth time this past June in Madrid, Spain. Brazil faced their American rivals Argentina in an epic final after scoring twenty-three goals to top Group D and beating Colombia 3-0 in the quarter-final and China 1-0 in the semi-final.
The first half of the final saw chances at both ends but Brazil’s Ricardinho broke the deadlock in the twenty-third minute and Raimundo Nonanto scored five minutes before full-time to seal victory and Tokyo 2020 qualification. Ricardinho was prized with the Top Goal Scorer Award. China collected bronze after defeating European champions Russia 2-1 for their first podium finish since 2010.
Caption: the Brazil team, staff and fans pose with their trophy and medals with ex-Spain coach Vicente del Bosque.
Australia makes its international competitive debut
The Aussie blind football national team flew to Kochi, India, over the Autumn period for a set of intense joint training sessions and matches. Though the final score lines were in favour of India, the Aussies saw the trip as a progressive learning curve towards their debut at the 2019 IBSA Blind Football Asian Championships. Shae Skinner made history for Australia by becoming the first female to represent the National Team.
The partially sighted national futsal team parted shortly after to Kuala Lumpur to face their Malaysian counterparts. Australia finished the tournament with two narrow losses and a historic 6-5 win and also took home many lessons to prepare for their debut at the 2021 IBSA Partially Sighted Football World Championships.
Caption: the Australia team poses with four female referees in India following one of their matches.
Serdal Celebi wins Sportchau Goal of the Month
Blindenfussball Hamburg FC St. Pauli player Serdal Celebi won the Sportchau Goal of the Month
in September. His goal in the German Blind Football League final against MTV Stuttgart was the first time in history that a blind football goal had won Goal of the Month. He dribbled the ball to the right-hand side of the attacking half, luring three Stuttgart defenders in the process. He then took the ball inside towards the edge of the penalty box and rocketed the ball into the top corner with his left foot. His goal brought the score back to 2-1 but St Pauli couldn’t get another to equalise and retain its title.
Caption: screenshot from the Sportchau web site. Click on the image or here to watch the full report.
Women’s Blind Football grows worldwide
The number of women involved in blind football as coaches, guides, players and referees has grown exponentially across all regions this calendar year. Two women made the record books in January by officiating in the second edition of the North East Indian Blind Football Tournament in Tura for the first time in history.
In May, Bettina Sulyok made history as the first woman to captain a national blind football team as she led Austria during their debut at the Euro Challenge Cup. Austria also fielded a female guide. Three months later, over thirty women participated in the Bina Foundation Women’s Blind Football Training Camp and Games in Enugu, Nigeria which saw Diamond Ladies FC crowned inaugural women’s blind football championships.
The exciting development worldwide was topped with the announcement of the 2019 IBSA Blind Football Women’s Training Camp and Games from 20-24 February in Tokyo, Japan.
Caption: Diamond Ladies FC players kiss the trophy.
Caption: Bettina Sulyok poses with the Belarus captain and the referees before the match.
Caption: women players are put through their paces at the camp in Nigeria.
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