ITANAGAR, Feb 1: North East Shower Blind Football Club (NESBFC), a combined Northeast team, recently brought home the trophy of the 2nd North East Regional Blind Football Tournament which was held from 27-30 January at Mont Ford school grounds in Tura, Meghalaya.
Blind football is a variation of futsal, and is played with 5 players and a goal guide. The players wear a blindfold in a ground which is smaller than the average football ground.
The eight-member NESBFC team, comprising players from Arunachal and Meghalaya, defeated Delhi Daredevils by a single goal in the final match on 30 January. The decision was made through a penalty shootout as both the teams were unable to score within the designated time.
NESBFC’s Nido Dominic netted the winning goal to help the team lift the trophy.
Gabriel Nongrum was awarded the best player of the tournament trophy for scoring 10 goals in five matches.
Considered India’s fastest blind football player, Gabriel is a graduate from St Edmunds College, Shillong, and is also a student of the Society Rehabilitation of Visually Challenged, Kochi.
Besides Dominic, members of the team included Talar Podo, Tagum Litin, Bengia Abraham, Tara Bagang, Gabriel Nongrum, Kilson De Marak, Donbor Nongrum, and Nido Rito (goal guide), and coach Benice De Marak.
Four players from Arunachal are students of Donyi Polo School for the Hearing and Visually Impaired, Chimpu.
Dominic completed his BCA from Bangalore. “Gabriel Nongrum and I have been playing football since our childhood and we wanted to make a team of our own so that we could take part in similar tournaments held across the country,” he said.
Lamenting the lack of sponsorship for blind football in the state, Dominic said that they initially sought support from public leaders and ministers. However, since there was no response from them, his father, Nido Torh, decided to sponsor the team.
“We would like to appeal to the state government to extend support to the team in order to encourage players to give similar performance in future,” Dominic said.
Ten teams from various states participated in the tournament.