Blind Football Federation organizes its Match today

By John Agok

South Sudan Blind Football Federation is organizing a match today at Dr. Biar Complex Sports as a courtesy of visitors from Germany scheduled to witness the game.

The visitors from Germany would be attending the match on Saturday evening hours around 2:00 to 3:00 pm. South Sudan Blind Football Federation is to officiate the match as well as organizing the covering of the event that deemed to bring people living with disability on board as spectators of the match.

 Simon Madol Akol,the Coach for the Blind Football team confirmed to Juba Monitor Newspaper that, they are going to organize the match today for the very important visitor from Germany who reported for people with disability.

“We are organizing this match, especially for our visitor from Germany who is the communication officer and also coordinating our sporting activities to international arena,” he said.

Madol admitted that they have conducted the similar match on 15th October and optimistic to play another big match in December.

“We have played similar game in 15th October and we are expecting the very big match on 15th December this year. This will promote and raise awareness on inclusive sports in the Country,” he added.

Last month, Light the World organized the Blind Match geared toward inclusivity sports in the schools at Buluk B Primary School.

Many sports have been adapted to include people with disabilities such as swimming and football. South Sudan Association of Visual Impairment (SSAVI) for the first time in the history of the country formed South Sudan Blind Football Team in February 2020 with support from Light for the World. An organization that raised awareness on physical, social, cultural and communication barriers that prevent persons with disabilities from participating in society.

The team is currently composed of 10 visually impaired players, 2 goal keepers, coach, assistant coach and international instructor from Germany.

“The team held its first friendly match on 3rd December 2020 at the basketball stadium. The team was divided into team A and B where team A won the match which was conducted in form of penalty shootout” said Coach Simon Madol and team captain Ladu Martine.

The National Olympics Committee granting permission for the team to use the national stadium playground was a sign of recognition and support for the team to progress. The team was hoped to be the nuclear for South Sudan Blind Football National team and represent the country in international competitions in the near future. 

 What amazed most fans was the speed of movement, pace and intensity of the game similar to one played by sighted team. Players also have shown the same passion, skills and commitment to physical fitness.

Major modification from the mainstream football was the blindfolds thatwere designed to balance the playing ground for players with different level of visual impairment. Instead of 11 players, 5 players made up a blind football team of which 4 were blind players and a sighted goal keeper.

The rattling ball allowed the players to locate it as they moved around the field yelling to clarify their position. Meanwhile, a sighted goalkeeper and an off-field guide directed the players towards the ball. Passes cover a short distance and players controlled the ball not to move more than a few inches from their feet.

“Communication is the key among the players and command of the ball. Compared to sighted game, players do a lot more of dribbling and close control,” coach Simon Madol stated.

Another striking feature of blind football was how the fans must watch the game in silence, unless the ball went off side they shout or howl. Otherwise, they would interfere with messages being shouted between the players in the field.

Mubarak aged 21 was a player in the new team who used to play at school and local residential level before becoming blind in 2016.

Now I am delighted to regain the passion of playing football a hope that was lost,” said Mubarak.

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