CONSISTENT training helped the national blind football team prepare itself for the 7th Asean Paragames in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar last month.
The training that the players received developed a successful formation in defence and attack in the games held from Jan 11 to 21.
“This is the best team assembled since the start of blind football in our country,” said the team’s coach Sunny Salesh,
Four of Asia’s best teams took part in the five-a-side football event for the visually impaired — Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar and Vietnam.
However, Vietnam pulled out of the games at the last minute.
The remaining three teams were evenly matched, but Thailand stood out because of several outstanding players.
Despite some members of the Malaysian team falling ill, they put up a challenge against the mighty Thais.
The blind football team was the same one that participated in the demonstration game during the Columbia Asia Charity Futsal Tournament in June last year.
Columbia Asia has been supporting the development of blind football in Malaysia.
Besides making blind football its corporate social responsibility effort last year, the private healthcare company will continue lending its support to the development of blind football this year.
This will create a chance for them to participate and win in the next international futsal event at the 2014 Asian Para Games in Incheon, South Korea, and perhaps even to Rio de Janeiro next year for the World Cup Paragames.
Also present at the Paragames in Myamnar was Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, who handed the Malaysian flag to the Asean Paragames Council.
Overall, Malaysia clinched a total of 50 gold medals in various events during the Paragames, fulfilling its target for the international event.
National Sports Council director-general Datuk Seri Zolkples Embong was at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport to welcome the team home and to congratulate them.