KUALA LUMPUR, July 11 (Bernama) -- The national blind football team is targeting for a slot in the final of the Thailand Open Football Championship in Bangkok from Aug 18 to 23.
Its head coach Sunny Shalesh said the target was achievable based on the current performance of his players, as well as their success in clinching the fourth place in the same event at the 2012 edition.
"The improvement in terms of performance shown by the players from year to year from 2009 gives me the confidence that they are capable of qualifying for the finals in Bangkok," he told Bernama when contacted, here.
Sunny said with the high discipline and perseverance compared to normal footballers, he believed that his players were capable of moving much further in the international arena.
He said the tournament in Bangkok was important as a warming-up platform for his team before they faced greater rivals in the 2014 Asean Para Games in Myanmar, the 2014 Asian Para Games in South Korea and the 2015 International Blind Sports Federation World Games in Korea.
FOOTBALL-BLIND 2 (LAST) KUALA LUMPUR
Meanwhile, in a statement issued by Columbia Asia, Malaysian Blind Sports Association Chairman Dr S. Radhakrishnan said blind football had developed into an elite and competitive sport in Malaysia since 2009 although funding was a challenge for the development of blind sports.
Columbia Asia Chief Executive Officer Kelvin Tan said: "Some of us cannot imagine how it is possible for someone without sight to play football - how does one know which way to run or in which direction to pass the ball. This is certainly something to be in awe of."
To develop blind sports in Malaysia, both of them lauded efforts by Columbia Asia Group of Hospitals in organising the Columbia Asia Charity Futsal Tournament 2013 in aid of the Malaysian Blind Sports Association recently. The tournament culminated in a grand finale at Sports Planet, Subang Jaya. A total of 276 teams took part in the tournament which was held throughout last month in which, each team was charged a fee of RM120. From that amount, RM20 was channelled to the Malaysian Blind Sports Association while another RM10 was added on by Columbia Asia.
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