2017 has been a historic year for women involved in IBSA Blind Football.
In May, we held our very first Women’s Blind Football Training Camp and Tournament
in Vienna, Austria. Over in Argentina, Paradeportes Cañuelas FC introduced a female blind football team
to their club in July. In early August, Bina Foundation inaugurated the first female blind football team
in Nigeria. At the end of August, the European Championships in Berlin saw Dorien Cornelis of Belgium become the first-ever female player
to compete at an IBSA Blind Football regional championship. Additionally, Julia Kalabau was the only female IBSA referee
at the European Championships.
Earlier this month, Hilary Ramírez from Costa Rica was one of the key officials at the inaugural IBSA Blind Football Central American Championships in Guatemala. Hilary was number one referee in several fixtures, including a crunch match between hosts Guatemala and El Salvador. However, she wasn’t alone as the championships brought together a total of nine female coaches, guides and support staff from four countries.
Caption: Hilary Ramírez performs the coin toss before the match.
October was another prolific month for women’s blind football. The first women’s blind football international club match was hosted by Topos Puebla FC on Saturday 21st October in Puebla, Mexico. After Topos Puebla coaches returned to Mexico from the inaugural IBSA Women’s Blind Football Training Camp, they decided to host the club’s first women’s match to support the growth of women’s blind football in Mexico. Topos Puebla FC invited Las Guerreras de Córdoba from Argentina to play in the first women’s blind football international match at Anahuac University.
A large group of fans attended the game in great anticipation for the whistle to kick off the match. The teams were evenly matched, with both teams compact in defence and difficult to break down. However, Yohana Aguilar made history by scoring the only goal in the game during the first half for Las Guerreras de Córdoba to edge a 1-0 victory. She intercepted the ball from midfield and after dribbling past two Topos Puebla defenders, she stabbed the ball through the goalkeeper’s legs into the net, to which a great round of applause rippled from the crowd. Yohana felt immense pride representing her club internationally and scoring the only goal in the match:
“Scoring the only goal in the match for my team gave me great satisfaction. It has been a joy to come to Mexico, having sacrificed a lot to fulfill our dream to play internationally. And to crown that effort with a goal, which was not only mine but the whole team’s, was a fantastic feeling.”
Picture Caption: Milagros Romero challenges Ana Tere Méndez Machorro for the ball.
Despite narrowly losing the match, Topos Puebla believed that the score line reflected how far the female team have come since they formed only just a year ago. Jorge Lanzagorta, one of the founders of the women's team, felt proud that Topos Puebla are addressing an important gap in the development of women's blind football:
"We are proud because IBSA announced that this is the first international match for women in history. We will continue to develop women’s blind football, and this is another achievement for us. It is important to have gender equality in the game as blind football is great for men and women.”
After the match, Las Guerreras de Córdoba stayed for an additional week across other cities in Mexico to deliver workshops on how to adapt sports for men and women with a visual impairment. During their stay in Riviera Maya, the Argentinian side visited a school in Playa Del Carmen, where they gave a blind football demonstration to the students and teachers.
Since returning to Argentina, Las Guerreras de Córdoba won the Argentinian Championships, defeating Estrellas de Popeye de Salta 4-0 and Paradeportes Cañuelas 2-0 on 10th November. The Argentinian champions also plan to invite Topos Puebla to Argentina for a men’s and women’s International Tournament.
Picture Caption: Topos Puebla and Las Guerreras de Córdoba hold their club and country flags in a group photo
Meanwhile in Mexico, there are plans to establish a women’s blind football League and for Topos Puebla to host the first Women’s Blind Football International Cup.
IBSA Blind Football would like to congratulate Topos Puebla and Las Guerreras de Córdoba on organising the first-ever women’s blind football international club match. You can follow both clubs on Facebook to keep up to date with the development of women’s blind football in both countries – Topos Puebla
and Los Guerreros - Fútbol Para Ciegos
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for updates and news on the development of the game across the world.
Join the IBSA Women’s Blind Football network on Facebook
Caption: women coaches, guides, support staff and referee Hilary Ramírez pose for a photo with a banner announcing the IBSA Blind Football Central American Championships.