COFFEE company Starbucks Malaysia has joined a growing list of brands supporting the Malaysian blind football community, pledging vouchers and goodies worth over RM10,000 for the Eye On The Ball: Bola Buta Challenge event this Saturday.
The public will stand a chance to win Starbucks vouchers, merchandise and coffee by giving blind football a try at the one-day event, which will be held at KL Sports City, Bukit Jalil, from 8.30am to 6pm.
There will be a main court for friendly blind football matches, a smaller court for a “blind penalty” challenge (with free giveaways for participants) and various booths, including blind reflexology and free eye check-ups throughout the day.
The event is part of the Eye On The Ball film campaign by The Star’s award-winning R.AGE team and CIMB Foundation in support of the blind football community, particularly the Harimau Buta national players.
“Like coffee, football has the ability to bring people together, ” said Berjaya Food Bhd group chief executive officer and Starbucks Malaysia and Brunei managing director Sydney Quays.
“Earlier this year, Starbucks and Amazon collaborated for a story on how football connects people.
“Eye On The Ball has the same effect; it doesn’t matter which country you are from, it brings that commonality, that connectiveness together.
“It’s this shared spirit of connectivity that makes the Eye On The Ball event relevant to Starbucks, ” he added.
Starbucks’ first “signing store”, which saw the deaf take their place as front-of-house staff instead of being relegated to the back, was launched in Kuala Lumpur in 2016.
“The (signing stores) are about creating inclusion and equality, ” said Quays.
“We consider these store hubs to promote and raise awareness of these communities.
“We are also looking at doing something for the blind as well.”
Registered Bola Buta Challenge participants will receive goodie bags, including Inside Scoop ice cream vouchers, drinks, snacks and other goodies, and also stand a chance to win limited-edition Eye On The Ball merchandise if they upload their videos on social media.
The public can also take on the Bola Buta Challenge together with celebrities such as YouTube star Jinnyboy, actress Ummi Nazeera, comedian Harith Iskander and Ola Bola star Marianne Tan, and play against the Harimau Buta.
The Eye On The Ball campaign will culminate with the release of R.AGE’s first-ever documentary, also titled Eye On The Ball, in cinemas this December.
The film has already premiered internationally, having been screened in London, Newcastle and Manchester earlier this month as part of the Aperture film festival.
Directed by R.AGE producer and filmmaker Chen Yih Wen, the film follows the dramatic and inspiring story of the Harimau Buta, and their journey to qualifying for the World Cup of blind football.
Aside from supporting blind football development in Malaysia, R.AGE also aims to highlight the challenges faced by the country’s visually impaired community through the film.
The Bola Buta Challenge is being held as part of the National Sports Month festival, which will be launched by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman.
More than 75 activities will be carried out throughout the day, including a carnival aimed at inspiring disabled Malaysians to be more active, Zumba and a taekwondo exhibition.
Admission is free, with giveaways on a first-come, first-served basis. Log on to bit.ly/bbc_bsn to find out more.
The Eye On The Ball campaign is sponsored by CIMB Foundation, one of the biggest supporters of the blind football community since it was established.
Find out more about the campaign and subscribe for updates on the film at eyeontheballfilm.com
* Eye On The Ball is a campaign to support the Malaysian blind football community by R.AGE, presented by Star Media Group and CIMB Foundation. Find out more at www.eyeontheballfilm.com.