The champions Kembara FC with Seroux (right) celebrating their win.
KEMBARA Football Club emerged champions of the MSN/MBSA 2nd National Circuit 5-a-Side Blind Football (B1) Malaysian Championship.
The event, at Pusat Kecemerlangan Sukan Paralimpik Malaysia in Kampung Pandan, Kuala Lumpur, saw Blind Rovers finish in second place and Phoenix third. Gurney Training Centre ended up in fourth place.
The champions received RM1,000 while the second and third-placed teams won RM500 and RM300, respectively. The cash prizes were sponsored by Columbia Asia.
The tournament was organised by the Paralympic Division that falls under the umbrella of the National Sports Council and the Malaysian Blind Sports Association.
The national championship was made possible with the support of private healthcare company, Columbia Asia. A keen partner in blind football development via its CSR programmes, Columbia Asia also organised a selection tournament in October 2013 for the national team at the 2014 Asean Para Games in Myanmar.
For this championship, Columbia Asia sponsored the attire and team kit for all the teams and official attire for the technical committee.
“Columbia Asia has shown firm support in championing blind football for the community by constantly working with MBSA to create opportunities for the blind community via football,” said Columbia Asia regional marketing manager Nathalie Seroux
During the event, the paramedic team from Columbia Asia Hospital-Cheras was also on standby.
“The objective of this effort in blind football is to identify new talents and to select players to represent the Malaysian Blind Football team in various international tournaments, said Seroux.
The organiser is eyeing the 2014 Incheon Asian Para Games, 2015 IBSA World Championship and the 2015 IBSA Asia World Cup Qualifiers.
In the recent 2014 Asean Para Games in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, the Malaysian team clinched the silver medal. With more support and training, they can certainly go further in the game.
A total of 40 blind players representing independent clubs, schools and associations took part. The participants’ age ranged between 16 and 40 years old. They consisted of athletes with total visual impairment or class B1 Blind.
Some 95% of the players were employed adults while the rest were students.
Current blind football players from the national team were decentralised to form their own teams for this tournament.
Also present at the tournament were National Sports Council director of the Paralympic division, Mohd Safrushahar Yusoff and Malaysian Blind Sports Association president Dr S.Radhakrishnan. Also present was the tournament manager and national blind football coach Sunny Shalesh.