Uganda Set to Start National Blind Football League

The Blind Football Association is planning to hold its first-ever national blind football league match for the visually impaired Ugandans on October 14th 2022.

Muzafaru Jaggwe, who brought the sport to Uganda and currently serves as the Blind Football Association’s President, is leading the initiative. He told URN that they have already secured a venue and they are in the final preparation to hold the league.  

In an interaction with URN, Muzafaru said they choose October 14th, 2022 to contribute to the celebrations of the White Cane Awareness Day which takes place every 15th of October each year. 

White Cane Safety Day is observed on October 15th. It is set aside to honor the accomplishments of persons who are blind or visually impaired, as well as the white cane, an essential symbol of blindness and a tool of independence. 

According to Jagwe, it will be a one-day league slated to be played at the “fast sports fusion” indoor stadium in Bulogoloobi with four clubs expected to take part in the competition.  

How it started: 

Jagwe says he came up with the concept after seeing multiple videos of blind individuals playing football in Europe. In Uganda football is barely played by visually impaired persons, these have often been participating in athletics and goalball, leaving blind soccer inactive in Uganda.  

Jagwe said he thought introducing blind soccer to this group of people in Uganda would provide an alternative to those who do not fancy goalball and para athletics.

Muzafaru further says the Association is currently operating under the National Paralympic committee but working hard to be registered as an independent Federation at the National Council.  

After getting a certificate from the National sports regulatory body, Muzafaru says he hopes to register and become a member of the local soccer governing body- FUFA. 

Jagwe who says he does not have the financial muscle to propagate the game across different parts of the country, estimates that at least 40 players have learned about the game and are actively participating in it.  

Isaac Musasizi, one such player says he started playing the sport in October 2021 but he has since found joy in playing it. “I started playing in 2021, and it comes with the advantage of uniting us from where ever we are. I am still learning the technical bits of the game but hopefully, with time I capture everything.”

Ronald Kamusiime, another blind soccer player says he was following normal football since he was young until blind football was introduced and gave him chance to participate actively.

“Since I was a kid, I have been following the normal football, I would hear about blind football but it was nowhere in Uganda, but when Muzafaru talked about it, I was still at Makerere University as a student and we had people with the same problem, so we mobilized each other with my friends and started playing at Makerere.”

He says he is looking up to the sport to reach greater heights like representing Uganda at the 2024 Paralympic games. “I have played for a year and I think I can compete. I also look at playing the sport professionally, because I think it can take me to big stages like the Paralympic games in 2024, for example, if we get funds and facilitation, we can represent Uganda at an international level”, he said.

Speaking to URN, Innocent Tumwesigye the General Secretary of the National Paralympic Committee says they recognize blind football association as a growing sport. He says the players have a chance to take part in the all-Africa Games next year.  

“We recognize all the growing sports, in November we tend to call all the associations and we assess which sports can be in a position to represent the country in the games for example All African games next year”, Innocent said.

How it is played: 

Blind soccer is played on a rectangular field 40 meters long and 20 meters wide. The whole length of the pitch is covered by kickboards to prevent the ball from going out of play. The dimensions of the goals are 3.66m wide by 2.14m high. The duration of the match is 40 minutes, divided into two 20-minute halves plus 10 minutes for half-time.

It is made up of four outfield players and one goalkeeper, outfield players are supposed to be visually impaired and normally belong to the B1 Paralympic class is composed of people who are totally or almost totally blind whilst the goalkeeper must be sighted or partially sighted, but each of the sides has off-field guides to assist the movement of players.  

To guarantee a leveled playing field, all outfielders must wear eyeshades to prevent any form of visual assistance to a random player. Additionally, while attending the match, Spectators are always obliged to remain silent while watching the game until a goal is scored.  

Unlike normal football, the ball used in blind soccer creates a noise due to an internal sound system that assists players in orienting themselves. But just like normal soccer, once a foul is committed, the offensive side can earn a penalty which can be taken 8 meters from the goal.

In the course of action, if a player is attempting to tackle the opponents, he must shout the word “voy” so that the person they are attempting to tackle is aware. According to the International Blind Soccer Association, this is designed to prevent injuries wherever possible.

Scroll to top