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Blind Football weekend in Portugal a great success

Date: March 21, 2016

Category: Football

IBSA Blind Football has returned from Lausada, near Porto in northern Portugal, following a highly successful training weekend involving local players and coaches.

The workshop was attended by a group including physical education teachers, blind sports coaches and representatives from Porto Football Club.

The weekend kicked off with presentations on blind sports from the Portuguese Disability Sports Federation (FPDD), blind football by IBSA, and an explanation of some of the main adaptations from FIFA futsal rules by an invited national coach.

Following the classroom introduction, participants were joined by local players for an afternoon of hands-on sessions at a nearby pitch. Despite the bad weather conditions everyone enjoyed the sessions, and in particular the players.

Caption: a player shoots at goal from the 6-metre penalty spot.

On Sunday morning participants were put through their paces by Spanish coach José Carratalá. They were asked to devise coaching and training drills for blind players and put under blindfolds to gain first-hand experience of what it is like to play football with no sight.

The weekend was arranged within the UEFA-funded IBSA Blind Football Development Project Europe and organised in partnership with the Portuguese Disability Sports Federation. We are also grateful to the Municipality of Lousada and the Lausada Luis Figo Football Academy, part of the Luis Figo Foundation, for their invaluable support.

Portugal was one of the first countries to set up a national blind football team, which competed successfully in IBSA European Championships from 1997 until 2005 then dropped off the international stage. One of the aims of the weekend was to help and encourage Portugal to return to international competition.

Caption: participants pose for a family photo on the pitch.

Mario Lopes, President of the FPDD, was delighted with the results and said: “This weekend has certainly served our purposes and it has gone even better than we expected. We can see we have good players, managers and coaches and we’re very enthusiastic. We have learnt a lot from the IBSA experts who came to visit us.”

“We knew we had to put some work into developing blind football because it’s what our members want, and this weekend has been a huge encouragement for us. We would like to thank IBSA for all its assistance, the quality of the coaching and its willingness to help us. We also appreciate the support from Lausada council and the Luis Figo Football Academy.”

Nuno Antunes was one of the players who took part on the Saturday afternoon. Antunes, a veteran of Portugal’s campaigns in IBSA Blind Football European Championships, had this to say: “For me, coming here to take part today is like turning the clock back to when we played before. I started to play in 1997 and represented Portugal in Europeans in 1999 and 2005. I would really like to thank IBSA for all the support and equipment they have given us to get the game going again in Portugal.”

José Carratalá was impressed with the all-round standard: “I’m pleasantly surprised by the standard of the players and how keen and enthusiastic they are. If they continue like this they’ll have a strong national set up in no time, because they have a solid basis to build a competitive team.”

Talking about the IBSA Blind Football Development Project Europe, Carratalá added: “It’s evident the project is effective because we can see the positive results. New emerging teams are appearing constantly and blind football is stronger for that. Blind football should be an option for all blind and partially sighted people in every European country because it is one of the most popular Paralympic sports. The project should also be replicated in other continents with backing from other regional football federations and from FIFA.”

For more information on the project contact [email protected].

Join the IBSA Blind Football Facebook group.

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