Thiruvananthapuram: The IBFF Blind Football Tournament got off to an exciting start at the Different Art Centre with a brilliant performance that proved that visual impairment is no barrier to football. For many of the audience, this was their first experience. This put an end to the worry of how visually impaired people would play football. The players put on a spectacular performance to the tune of a clattering football and the shouts of their teammates. Each team had five players including the goalkeeper. The ground was specially arranged for blind football with the matches being held for 45 minutes. Kerala faced Telangana in the first match of the women's section to kick off the tournament.
The match ended in a goalless draw after a thrilling battle. The Maharashtra-Gujarat match that followed also brought the crowd to the peak of excitement. This is the first time that women's blind football is being held. The South-West Zonal Blind Football Tournament has been jointly organized by the Different Art Centre and the Indian Blind Football Federation (IBFF). Visually impaired persons from the states of Kerala, Telangana, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka are participating in the football matches. Kerala State Sports Council President U. Sharaf Ali, SAI LNCP Principal and Regional Director Dr. Kishore Gopinathan and football player CK Vineeth took the penalty kick held at Different Art Centre.
Footballer CK Vineeth said that there is no other differently abled friendly organization in Kerala that gives so much consideration, care and love to the differently abled and therefore the IBFF organizers are proud to have chosen the centre as a suitable venue for the blind football tournament. IBFF Project Head MC Roy, Different Art Centre Executive Director Gopinath Mutukad, KIMS CEO Rashmi Aisha, Kaipola film crew members Director KG Shaiju, Producer Sajimon V. Raghavan, Actors Sajal Sudarshan , Anjukrishna Ashok participated. Then the exhibition match of Kerala and National Blind Football Academy teams took place.
There will be 19 matches including the final in both categories. Kerala, Telangana and Tamil Nadu are in Group A and Gujarat, Karnataka and Maharashtra in Group B. This is the first time that Thiruvananthapuram was the venue for the visually impaired football tournament. The tournament ended on the 16th April 2023 proving that being visually impaired doesn't stop the passion towards the game.