17 Aug 2017 15:40pm
By Hesron Kapanga
WINDHOEK, 17 AUG (NAMPA) The Namibia Paralympic Committee (NPC) is currently piloting blind football in the Khomas, Oshana, Kavango East and Zambezi regions.
Blind football is an adaptation of football for athletes with visual impairments. Teams are made up of four completely blind outfield players and a sighted or partially sighted goalkeeper. To ensure fair competition, all outfield players must wear blindfolds. Teams can have off-field guides to assist them.
NPC Treasurer Nicky Nghumono said Namibia received the go-ahead to play the sports from the International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) in February. Namibia is also affiliated to the African body for blind sports.
When we came back from the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), we identified regions to find players and form teams, he told Nampa on Thursday.
The NPC is busy building more teams and will soon select a national team to compete at international competitions.
Since we got the green light, our teams have just been competing among themselves at their schools in their regions, said Nghumono.
Khomas has three teams and the other three regions one team each.
Nghumono said even though they are still new at the game, Namibia has already received invitations from other African countries to play friendly matches.
The NPC received 10 footballs and 10 blindfolds from the international body.
Blind football is played on a rectangular field that measures 40 metre (m) long and 20m wide. The whole length of the pitch must be covered by kickboards to prevent the ball from going out of play. The ball makes a noise due to a sound system located inside that helps players orient themselves. As a result, spectators must remain silent whilst watching the game until a goal is scored.
The duration of the match is 50 minutes, divided into two 25-minute halves.