Bulawayo and Masvingo provinces were hosts of the two workshops to introduce blind football in Southern Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe has taken massive strides to develop blind football in all areas of the country this year and intends to compete on the international stage in the new year. Blind football is run by the Zimbabwe National Paralympic Committee (ZNPC), the IBSA affiliate in the country who are responsible for the development of disability sport from grassroots to elite level.
Since hosting the country’s inaugural blind football workshop in Harare this past April, the ZNPC have distributed blind footballs and eyeshades to institutions with visually impaired students in Harare, Mashonaland East and Masvingo. To continue spreading awareness of the came across the country, the ZNPC enlisted the help of IBSA and IPC volunteer Keon Richardson to deliver both workshops in Bulawayo on Tuesday 18 December and Masvingo on Thursday 20 December.
Caption: learning about ball control.
Approximately fifty participants - representing special schools, inclusive schools, resource units and national sports organisations from both provinces - attended the workshops to gain technical information about the rules of the game and how to coach blind football.
The workshops started with a theoretical session which outlined the history and laws of the game, how to guide a person who is visually impaired, tips for coaching athletes who are visually impaired, orientation and mobility and footage on ball control. After discussions on what skills a blind footballer needs, the practical session commenced in the thirty degrees heat with the coaches orientating the other participants who acted as blind footballers around the pitch using the knowledge they gained from the classroom.
The practical session moved into static and dynamic stretches followed by group exercises to improve echo location, spatial awareness and communication. Following this were exercises on passing and controlling the ball as well as dribbling the ball in different directions, which the coaches got to practise with other participants individually and give feedback on. After lunch, the practical session carried on with shooting from the 6m penalty spot, free-kicks and corners, and concluded with a three-a-side game.
Following the workshops, the participants were presented with a certificate, blind footballs and eyeshades to develop the game within their institution in the new year. The ZNPC are now working towards hosting a five-day national coaching clinic in April.
“The ZNPC will continue to scale up its sport programmes through promoting and facilitating sporting excellence development to its disability sporting community and helping change the world. We intend to participate in numerous international competitions next year, including the 2019 IBSA Blind Football African Championships in Ivory Coast”, said ZNPC President Michael Bulangago.
Did you know that Blind Football is called Bhora Revasingaoni in Shona (Zimbabwe’s official language)?
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Caption: Masvingo blind football workshop family photo.