2018 in Review: Football 5-a-side

Brazil extend dominance and biggest year yet for women’s game

a group of male blind footballers wearing Brazil shirts and holding their hands up in celebration Brazil remain the best blind football side on the planet after winning a fifth world title at Madrid 2018 © • Madrid 2018

The 2018 Blind Football World Championships were the sport’s major competition of the year but not the only highlight. Here are the key moments of 2018.

Brazil stay on top of the world

The Brazilian team won the World Championships title for a fifth time in Madrid, Spain. They beat arch-rivals Argentina in an epic final after scoring 23 goals to top Group D, defeating Colombia 3-0 in the quarter finals and China 1-0 in the semi-finals.

Ricardinho was also recognised with the Top Goal Scorer Award.

Women’s game grows

The number of women involved in blind football as coaches, guides, players and referees has grown across all regions in 2018. Two women made the record books in January by officiating in the North East Indian Tournament.

In May, Bettina Sulyok made history as the first woman to captain a national blind football team as she led Austria during their debut at the Euro Challenge Cup. Austria also fielded a female guide.

Three months later, over 30 women participated in the Bina Foundation Women’s Blind Football Training Camp and Games in Enugu, Nigeria.

The exciting development worldwide was topped with the announcement of the 2019 IBSA Blind Football Women’s Training Camp and Games in Tokyo, Japan, from 20-24 February.

Argentina make history

‘Los Murciélagos’ (The Bats) lifted the first IBSA Blind Football Grand Prix title in Tokyo, Japan after defeating England on penalties in the gold medal match. Argentinian defender Padilla Froilan won the Most Valuable Player Award while captain Maxmiliano Espinillo picked up the Top Goal Scorer Award.

Australia make international debut

The Aussie national team flew to Kochi, India for a set of intense joint training sessions and matches. Though the final score lines were in favour of India, Australia saw the trip as a progressive learning curve towards their debut at the 2019 Asian Championships. Shae Skinner made history by becoming the first female to represent the national team.

Serdal Celebi wins Sportchau Goal of the Month

FCSP St Pauli’s Celebi’s goal playing for FCSP St Pauli at the German Blind Football League was chosen Sportchau Goal of the Month in September. It was the first time in history that a blind football goal won this award.

Celebi dribbled the ball to the right-hand side off the attacking half, luring three Stuttgart defenders in the process. He then took the ball inside towards the edge of the penalty box and and rocketed the ball into the top corner with his left foot.