Chennai, Oct 26 (IANS) Tamil Nadu will host the national blind football tournament for men and women from October 27-30. This is the first time the state is playing host to the national blind football tournament.
The state has formed a blind football team for men only in 2018, and, in 2019 the Tamil Nadu blind football association commenced functioning.
The founder of the TN Blind football association, GR Bharathiraja, while speaking to IANS said, “While we were late in establishing a team and forming an association, we have not lagged behind in training, and a good team is now arranged. We are hosting the national football championship for the blind in both men’s and women’s categories from October 27.”
This is the first time a national-level women’s blind football tournament is being conducted while this will be the sixth national blind football tournament for men.
The teams are coached by Francis Sebastian who is an acclaimed blind football coach and he said that the tournament was slated for 2023 but the associations put pressure on the national office-bearers and have made the tournament possible in 2021 itself.
Sebastian, while speaking to IANS, said, “While both the men’s and women’s teams are performing extremely well, we need more support from sponsors as well as the general public. In the north-eastern states of the country, blind football is popular in villages and we are planning to make it popular among the masses of Tamil Nadu, and for that, we need more support and patronage.”
The state association, as a first step, is planning to introduce football in every blind school of the state and to train coaches for the same. The blind football association also wants to divide the state into five zones with each zone comprising of some districts and to decentralise the coaching programme so that the game is introduced across the state.
Bharathiraja and Sebastian have said that infrastructural problems are plaguing the game and that the team does not have a playing ground of its own, but the passion for the game is pulling the organisers, players, and coach forward.