Thursday, 14th October 2021 marks World Sight Day – an international day of awareness to focus attention on the global issue of eye health and showcase athletes who are blind or are partially sighted.
Australian Blind Football (ABF) is an initiative of Blind Sports Australia. Working alongside Football Australia and Member Federations to be the recognised national pathway for people who are blind or partially sighted to play football in Australia.
There are two versions of the game:
- Blind Football is played by athletes who are totally blind and are classified as B1. This version of the game is a Paralympic Sport.
- Partially Sighted Futsal is played by athletes with varying degrees of vision loss.
Partially Sighted Futsal will be represented for the first time at Football Australia’s 2022 National Futsal Championships taking place on the Gold Coast from 5th – 9th January. The tournament will also serve as an opportunity for Australian Partially Sighted Futsal Head Coach, Stephanie Taylor, to observe new players and select her National Team for upcoming training sessions and tournaments.
The Australian Blind Football team are set to participate in their first international tournament next year at IBSA Asian Blind Football Championships taking place in November, 2022. With both teams looking to qualify through these championships to showcase their talents and compete at the IBSA World Games in Birmingham, due to take place from 18th-27th August 2023.
Closer to home, Blind and Vision Impaired Football NSW is the governing body for athletes playing adaptive football within NSW. Established with the support of Blind Sports NSW, and Australian Blind Football, the monthly training sessions have been held at Valentine Sports Park, the home of Football NSW, as an opportunity to welcome participants of all abilities and awareness of the round ball game.
Under the guidance of Australia’s Partially Sighted Futsal Head Coach, Stephanie Taylor, and Australian Blind Football’s Assistant Coach, Pete Nowakowski, the training sessions have served as a chance for current NSW Squad and Australian National Team players to develop their technical and tactical bases whilst also assisting and supporting the next generation of players coming through the ranks.
The NSW Partially Sighted Futsal team will represent the state at the upcoming Football Australia 2022 National Futsal Championships.
The NSW squad includes:
- Stephanie Taylor (AUS)
- Isabella Nimmo (NSW)
- Alyssa Marco (NSW)
- Jason Stubbs (Manager)
- Pete Nowakowski (Selector)
- Dion Kalogiros
- Ethan Scathurchio
- Mustafa Kemal Yuruk
- Nate Vala (Goalkeeper)
- Nejat Haydardedeoglu
- Oscar Stubbs
- Sean Brown
- Shaun Fitzpatrick
- Steffan Nero
To stay up to date with Blind and Vision Impaired Football NSW and find out about upcoming training sessions, you can follow them on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/blindvisionimpairedfootballnsw
To support our Australia National Teams, you can follow them on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/ausblindfootball
If you want to find our more about the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness this World Sight Day, visit: https://www.iapb.org/world-sight-day/