Blind football continues to expand and spread to new parts of the world, and now it is the turn of Eurasia to take up the game.
IBSA Blind Football is travelling to Almaty, Kazakhstan, in the coming days for introductory seminars and training sessions at the home of one of the biggest football and futsal clubs in the country.
The training weekend is taking place as part of the IBSA Blind Football Development Project Europe
, funded by an annual grant from UEFA
. While Kazakhstan is officially part of Asia within IBSA, it is a UEFA member and is therefore eligible for support.
IBSA Football Committee chair and ex-German national coach Ulrich Pfisterer will conduct the two-day training sessions at local club FC Kairat
, which has employed a coach and has plans to build a national team around the newly-formed Kairat team. The project also has support from the National Paralympic Committee of Kazakhstan
and the Kazakhstan Football Federation.
Ten players were selected for the team and started training just a few weeks ago in preparation for the visit, using balls and eyeshades donated by IBSA to the NPC. In addition, a youth team has been set up at a local school for the blind.
The club has been promoting its blind football team on its web site and social media, including a video on its official Youtube channel
Caption: click to view video.
In a recent interview, FC Kairat chairman Kairat Boranbayev highlighted how important the blind football project is for the club: “Football Club Kairat has created a new blind football team, a group of blind people. We opened it on the base of Kairat, appointed a coach who worked in the Paralympic Committee. This project is intended for blind people, and it is included in the Paralympic programme.”
“Now the group is training at the Eustafi Pahlevanidi Academy and we, together with the Paralympic Committee, purchased all the necessary equipment. We are preparing this team to play in tournaments and in the future we will create the Kazakhstan Blind Football team on the base of the FC Kairat players. This is one of the social projects that our club is engaged in.”
Kazakhstan is the first country in the region to take up blind football and it is hoped neighbouring countries look to it as a role model and initiate their own programmes in the near future.
For more information on the IBSA Blind Football Development Project Europe
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Caption: UEFA #EqualGame-Respect logo.