Kolkatta & North East Orientation & Awareness Tour - Sept'16

The Kerala Blind Football Federation ( supported by SRVC) undertook a 8 day camp across Kolkatta and North East of India to promote 5-a-side Blind Football to new areas and create awareness about the game. The members of the touring team included Aneesh M K ( SRVC Kerala Captain), Falhan C S ( India International), Ananthu Sasikumar ( India International), Renjith E R and Sujith ( sighted goalkeeper). M C Roy ( Tour Manager) and Sunil. J. Mathew ( National Coach & Trainer).

Kolkatta (10th & 11th Sept)

The tour started on 10th Sept with a game with the Kolkatta Blind Football Team at Kakinara, about 40 km's outside the city. Chinmoy Mondal and his team had coordinated this trip. The ground facilities were basic but football being popular brought in a large audience turn out at the ground. With no side kick boards (as the game has no side throws or kick ins) the team members were initially oriented on playing the game keeping the game in play with volunteers placed on the long sides. The evening game was a good practise game with the travelling Kerala side winning the game on penalties.

The next day saw the game being demo-ed at the Parsee Club Grounds in the city and the team from Kolkatta beating the team from Kerala in a penalty shootout. This event was organized by the Ladies Circle with the Round table of Kolkatta and helped the local team to look at getting side kick boards and a dedicated ground setup in the future to develop the game in the region, news article is below :


Tura, Meghalaya - 12th Sept

The second leg was planned at Tura Mont Fort School, Meghalaya which had earlier sent across a team for the nationals at Kochi in April'16. Bro Jose, Principal and incharge and his team had done an excellent job in arranging desks as side boards ( temporary arrangement) with goal posts made of bamboo. The main event took place on 12th Sept evening with a game between a mixed team from Kerala and Tura school. Some sparks of talent from the local team could be seen and this was followed by a demo session the next morning to better explain moves and tactics for the players. Tura has the potential to produce the next level of national players.

Guwahati, Assam ( 13th & 14th Sept)

The next camp was held on 13th Sept at Guwahati at the Mont Fort School, 10th Mile with Bro Maria Sossai and his team coordinating and making all the splendid arrangements. The ground facilities were basic with the side boards blocked with desks and the event offering an opportunity for the Assam Referee Association to bring forward their referees to officiate the game along with active participation from the ASEB ( Assam State Electricity Board) team officials. The plan to put up side kick boards along with the distribution of footballs was done with the Tata Trusts management team at the venue.

The next morning on 14th Sept, had a demo session with rules & guidelines been explained to players at the Mont Fort School and for players from the Guwahati Blind School who had also come to the ground. The evening saw a game being played with the media covering the game, radio channels also helping take the game awareness across. The Guwahati authorities are looking at setting up a state federation and also planning on an academy which will benefit the players in the region. Referee training was offered to members of the Referee Association who were made to officiate the game on a rotational basis.

Shillong, Meghalaya ( 15th & 16th Sept)

The next leg of the tour on 15th Sept included a trip to Shillong, to play with the Bethany Society team - some of the members who had participated at the Nationals in Kochi. Mr Carmo & Ms Bertha had made all arrangements at the Municipality Polo Grounds in the city with the state Election Commission also supporting the cause through the voting for all campaign. A game between the local team full of enthusiastic blind footballers and the touring Kerala team resulted in a goalless match and as the penalty shootout didn't yield a result, the game was declared a tie. The exposure that the local players received was immense and the following morning demo session at the astro turf facility also was greatly helpful understanding rules and tactics of the game. Immediately after the session, the organizers of the Shillong Music Festival which was held at an adjacent venue made it a point to call the touring Blind Footballers on stage and introduce the game to the audience. All such initiatives held in popularizing the game in the region, which was essentially the main purpose of the tour.


Imphal, Manipur ( 17th & 18th Sept)

Two of the Bethany society players were chosen to accompany the Kerala side on the next leg of the tour to the Handicapped Development Foundation Imphal, Manipur on 17th Sept. The team landed in a rain socked state which is renowned for the football prodigies at the sighted national side, and the game was planned for the afternoon but the downpour and the ground facilities ( which had make shift side planks) did not affect the morale of the players. Dr Sapam Jasowanta and his team had planned the event with dignitaries which included the Manipur Football Association members, bureaucracy, senior police officials etc. The host team who were playing their first game at any level had a difficult time keeping up with the pace of the game and the rules that were introduced for the first time for the B1 players, but the team showed few good sparks of talent and the balls distributed the following morning and demo session would help the team immensely to send a team for the future events.

The tour was a success as this would help in identifying the next round of pool of potential stars who can be selected for the National side too. The next stage will be a preparatory & selection camp at Guwahati or Shillong which will help bring the talents to the national level.