Monday, November 21, 2005

Blind soccer coming to New Zealand

On Wednesday, Wellington will host the first games of blind soccer ever played in New Zealand. These games will be possible due in part to Government of Brazil’s Ministry of Sport donating 50 audio soccer balls to the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind (RNZFB).

These games will have a team of four blind and vision-impaired RNZFB members will take on four Brazilians. The game will be either in our outdoors on a 20 by 40 meter surfaces. All players will wear blindfolds to insure fairness.

So what is an audio soccer ball? It is a ball with bells in it. As it rolls, people players will be able to track it.

Blind soccer was developed in the early eighties and the first international championships were held in Spain in 1986 and since then the sport has a strong following worldwide.

I have never experienced blind soccer, but it does seem like a player would have to have great skill to make anything happen. Even a simple pass would become an exercise and finding a player by their voice, letting them know it is coming their way and placing it near where their voice was. I hope to watch a match some time.


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