Monday is set to be a historic day for blind sports in Australia, with inaugural Australian blind football squads to be announced.
In an attempt to help establish the sport in Australia, Blind Sports Australia (BSA) established the Australian Blind Football (ABF) program, with the squad announcements the latest step in the program’s roll out.
Blind football is currently experience strong growth across the globe thanks to strong backing from the International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) and ABF coordinator David Connolly said the Australian blind football community is excited about making a name for itself, both at home and abroad.
“I am really excited about the announcement of the squad and the plans that we have for 2018. This announcement will let the blind football world know that Australia is serious about blind football and it will put the game onto the map here in Australia,” David said.
“Players have been selected on their football ability, and also their commitment and enthusiasm for the game. We are starting at the ground level, so we need to be thinking long term and we want players who are willing to learn and challenge themselves,” he said.
There will be two squads announced on Monday, a B1 squad consisting of players who are totally blind and a B2/B3 squad of players who have some vision.
B1 blind football is a Paralympic sport, while both B1 and B2/B3 blind football have World and Regional championship competitions. There is the possibility the Australian sides could compete in some of those competitions in 2018 and as a result BFA has organised camps for the chosen players to help them prepare for any opportunities they may have.
“Our first step will be a series of national camps next year. These camps will set the standard for what we expect from our national squad. We want to set the squad up to succeed so these camps are very important,” David said.
“We are already looking for the next challenge for the squad, with attendance at international tournaments in both formats on the cards for next year. It's a footballers dream up pull on the green and gold and represent their country and we want to help make this a reality for the players.”
The ABF squads will be announced from 11am on Monday, 27 November. For more information head to the Blind Sports Australia website.
Vision Australia can provide support to individuals from the blind and low vision community who wish to pursue their sporting interests. Click here for more information.