It’s a busy time for blind football following the fantastic IBSA Blind Football World Championships in Tokyo, Japan, last month.
Here’s a round-up of some of the latest news and activities and a preview of upcoming events:
Argentinean National Championships
Argentina returned from Tokyo with the silver medals following their close-fought final with Brazil, but there was no rest for the players as they rejoined their league teams to take part in the final stage of the Argentinean Blind Football National Championships.
After some close games, Municipalidad de Córdoba retained the national title with a 2-0 victory over city rivals MEDEA. Both goals were scored by Argentinean international Nicolás Véliz.
The final phase of the championships finished just yesterday in San Juan and the final standings were:
1 Municipalidad de Córdoba
2 MEDEA de Córdoba
3 Universidad de Tucumán
4 Estudiantes de La Plata
5 Rosell de San Isidro
Véliz ends the season as the joint top scorer in the Argentinean league on 18 goals, tied with UCASE player Iván Figueroa.
Romania makes progress
Romania continues to progress and improve thanks to strong support from its NPC and IBSA. Sally Wood Lamont, President of the Romanian NPC
and IBSA Europe Chair, reports on progress this year and, in particular, on victory in a recent tournament in Moldova:
The Romanian national team for blind football registered its first major success by winning the International Tournament in Moldova, held in Chisinau from the 28-30 November. There were 5 teams altogether, both national and club while the tournament was played in round-robin style.
Romania finished the tournament outright winners by winning three matches and drawing equal in the last match. They won 2-0 against Chisinau, 3-0 against Tiraspol (Republic Transnistreana, Moldova), 9-0 against Soroca, Moldova and drew equal 0-0 with the national Russian team. The latter result is exceptional as Russia is one of the first eight teams in Europe.
The Romanian national team consisted of: Sorin Lapadatu (team manager), Attila Veres (coach), Eva-Monika Lukacs (guide), Marius Carolea (Bacau - goalkeeper), Ionuţ Anton and Florin Kovacs (Bacău), Marius Hârleţ and Cosmin Calotă (Bucharesti), Tiberiu Păun and Mihai Nistor (Buzău).
Prizes were given for the best goalkeeper and the top scorer - both from the Romanian team respectively: Marius Corolea and Florin Kovacs (11 goals) while the prize for the best player in the tournament was won by the captain of the Russian national team. We appreciated greatly the efforts made by our friends from the Moldovan Blind Association who were our hosts and the organisers of this excellent competition. Following our good results Russia invited our national team to participate in an international tournament which will be held in May 2015.
The Romanian national football team was founded only last year encouraged by IBSA who donated balls and blindfolds to get us started. In May 2014 we had two friendly matches in Dortmund against two German teams and also participated in the IBSA Euro Challenge Cup 2014 in Prague this summer, a great experience which showed we had a long way to go. We must thank the Romanian Ministry of Sport and Youth Pierre de Coubertin programme, which gave us the opportunity and funds to run a series of football training camps from September to November 2014.
The results above demonstrate how valuable these trainings were!
Our thanks to Sally for the report.
The International Blind Football Tournament in Thessaloniki, hosted by Pirsos Thessaloniki
, concluded just yesterday with the final standings as follows:
1st - Russia
2nd - Dream Team (featuring players from the Czech Republic, Belgium, Germany and England) 3rd - Keravnos Athens
4th - BSU Pirsos Thessaloniki
Keravnos Athens beat the hosts 2-1 in the 3rd-4th place game and Russia defeated the Dream Team 3-1 in the final.
This was the 18th time the tournament was held, and in its history it has welcomed national and club teams from all over the world.
Sweden training weekend
IBSA Blind Football headed north this weekend to run a training weekend with blind players in Stockholm, Sweden, as part of the UEFA-funded Development Project Europe.
The training camp was a tremendous success with players, coaches and officials from MIK Sound
, a local football club which has embraced blind football and set up the first team in the country, learning a lot from German national coach and IBSA Football Committee Chair Ulrich Pfisterer.
Also on the agenda was a meeting with the Swedish Football Association, which has taken the decision to integrate all types of disability football in its programmes. IBSA offered to support them in this process, offering its expertise in the sport.
Sweden is the first Scandinavian country to hold a training camp of this nature, and we hope to repeat the experience soon in Finland, where a similar blind football programme has been initiated.
IBSA B2/B3 European Championships
Later this week the IBSA B2/B3 (partially sighted) European Championships 2014 kick off in La Spezia, Italy.
Seven teams will gather for the event - Italy, Spain, Russia, Turkey, Austria, Ukraine and England. Austria makes its debut at European championships.
With reigning champions Belarus unable to attend, Spain, beaten finalists at the 2012 Europeans in Turkey, will start off as favourites, but they can expect tough competition from 2012 semi-finalists England and Ukraine and the other participating countries.
IBSA Blind Football will be there to bring you all the scores and action from Italy.
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