Zambia and Botswana become the latest countries in Southern Africa to join the international blind football family.
The IBSA Football Committee is committed to expanding the Paralympic sport worldwide and introducing new countries to the game.
A core area of focus for the committee is the development of blind football in Africa, with the inaugural IBSA Women’s Blind Football World Championships later this year in Nigeria expected to attract more African countries to the sport. Numerous countries throughout the continent such as Nigeria, Ghana, Zimbabwe, and Niger have invested in blind football over the past three years.
Zambia and Botswana are the latest countries from Southern Africa to join the blind football family, with coaching clinics organised by the countries’ respective National Paralympic Committees and delivered by an experienced coach.
The National Paralympic Committee of Zambia (NPCZ) hosted two blind football coaching clinics to introduce the sport in Lusaka and Copperbelt province. The first coaching clinic from 15 to 16 January 2020 was held in Matero - a township in Lusaka - for athletes and teachers who engaged in ten hours of training over two days. The first day of the coaching clinic was broadcast live on local television by Diamond TV.
The second coaching clinic was held from 21 to 22 January at Ndola Lions School for the Visually Impaired, Ndola, Copperbelt province, near to the border with D.R. Congo. Twenty players and ten teachers were put through their paces over two days, learning the concept of ‘voy’, ball control, dribbling and shooting. The final day ended with a match between the players in their respective age groups.
Caption: group photo at Ndola Lions School for the Visually Impaired. Participants pose with balls and eyeshades.
“Blind football is very appealing because of its potential as a tool to advocate for inclusion and create a platform for people with visual impairments to fully participate in sport and society”, said NPCZ Vice President Charles Mwamba.
The Paralympic Association of Botswana hosted a five-day blind football coaching clinic at Ba Isago University from 27 to 31 January 2020 in the capital city of Gaborone. Nine participants from Mochudi—a village approximately 40 kilometres from Gaborone—committed to each day of the clinic which last for six hours under the scorching heat.
The first two days focused on the history and rules of blind football and footage in the classroom, and orientation and mobility, ball control, dribbling, and shooting on the University’s five-a-side pitch. The last three days reviewed team play, 2 v 2 non-contact match, and a full match. Although the high temperatures wore out the participants, everyone benefited from the intense training and both the players’ and coaches’ understanding of blind football increased rapidly each day.
“The coaching clinic was good and I have personally learnt a lot. I hope my colleagues can also gain the same knowledge”, said one of the coaches.
The Paralympic Association of Botswana plans to implement the sport within educational institutions in Mochudi Village and Francistown (eastern Botswana).
Caption: a player attempts to dribble past an opponent during the match.
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