The Academy Team Kochi has won the Third edition of National Blind Football Tournament conducted by Indian Blind Football Federation (IBFF) here, beating KWAB Bengaluru 1-0 in a closely fought final played at the Jogo Football Arena.
The team was dominant from the first minute with India international Gabriel Nongrum scoring the only goal of the finals finishing a fluent field goal move.
Another international Klingson Marak played a consistent game to win the best player of the finals, while Gabriel won the golden boot and the best player of the tournament with a total tally of 10 goals in the tournament.
DCP Kochi Kuruppasamy IPS was the chief guest, who was extremely pleased to watch the game with some of the other dignitaries from IBSA Delhi who had come for the game too.
The IBFF Academy is India's first and only academy offering Blind Football Training and vocational skills training to a chosen set of the talented blind footballers from across the country.
The aim of IBFF is to develop the Indian Blind Football Team, presently ranked 29th in the world for the Paralympics.
Blind Football is an exciting, fast-paced 5-a-side football played by visually impaired athletes using a ball with a noise-making device inside. Played on a smaller pitch on an enclosed court, the game was only introduced as a Paralympic event in 2004.
There is more dribbling and short passing than in the mainstream sport, and crowds remain quiet during play to ensure that players can hear the ball, their team-mates and opposition players. Matches are played between two teams, ground size of 40 m X 20 m, each with four outfield players and a goalkeeper.
The outfield players are visually impaired (VI) and wear eyeshades to ensure fairness; however, the goalkeeper may be fully or partially sighted. The pitch is surrounded with a rebound wall; the sport is played with no throw-ins and no offside rule, which ensures non-stop action. Matches are played over two halves of 25 minutes each, plus 10 minutes for half-time. All players are blindfolded before a game so that this becomes a 'level playing field' for all players - partial or fully blind.
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