Solusi School and St Faith Primary School are the latest schools to be introduced to blind football in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe are leading blind football by storm in Southern Africa and close off the 2019 calendar year with two coaching clinics for primary and secondary school students with visual impairments.
After holding their first national blind football coaching clinic in August 2019, the Zimbabwe National Paralympic Committee (ZNPC) have continued to expose new coaches and players to the sport by using their pool of trained blind football coaches to facilitate the three-day coaching clinics.
Caption: a player prepares to take a penalty kick during a match.
The first three-day clinic was held at Solusi School from 6 to 8 November 2019 for eight coaches and seventeen learners with visual impairments. The group of learners was a mixed blend of gender and ages from as a young as five, who were introduced to the basic skills of: controlling the ball, dribbling, passing, and shooting, followed by the procedures for corner-kicks, free-kicks and penalty shootouts.
The learners took part in matches on the final day, which was well attended by the students across the school and the headteacher. “This programme taught me that the blind and visually impaired learners have the potential to play soccer and that their sight is in their ability. This is a sensitisation programme for our sighted learners, teachers and the community at large” said Mr Tshuma, the school’s headteacher.
Ms Mhlanga, a specialist teacher at the school who was trained as a coach, was excited to be part of the coaching clinic. “From this training, I discovered the potential my learners have to play soccer. I liked the way our trainers task analysed the activities as they were training us because that enabled us as participants to clearly understand the steps in this game."
"After undergoing such training, I think it would be good to form a soccer team for the visually impaired at my school. I will liaise with our local university to have those who are doing education to come to our school and watch such matches and that will inspire the student teachers to take up this sport so that they become facilitators in schools where there are visually impaired learners and they can teach them how to play soccer”, said Mhlanga.
After the clinic, the school received a donation of blind footballs and blind folds from the ZNPC.
At the end of November, the ZNPC then travelled to Manicaland province to conduct a coaching clinic at St Faith Primary School from 29 November to 1 December 2019. The coaching clinic, involving four coaches and eighteen learners with visual impairments and hearing impairments, focused on: orientation and mobility, ball control, shooting, receiving and passing the ball, and player safety. The head, minister of parliament, and the wider community were amazed by the capabilities of the learners as they watched them contest in matches in the final day of the coaching clinic.
Caption: group photo at St Faith Primary School in Manicaland province.
“The coaching clinic was enjoyable and of great importance to our learners. The headteacher and the community at large were really impressed. The minister promised to make a standard ground for blind football”, said Mr Chiturumani, a senior teacher at the school.
The ZNPC are close to achieving their target of introducing blind football in ten of Zimbabwe’s provinces, with Manicaland becoming the eighth province trained in blind football through the coaching clinic at St Faith Primary School. The new year for the ZNPC will include more blind football coaching clinics across the country, including the two remaining provinces yet to be introduced to sport – Mashonaland West and Midlands. There are also plans to select a pool of players to create a men’s and women’s national team to compete an international blind football friendly match.
Caption: two players on the ball ready to take a corner during a match.
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