Did you know that the visually impaired actually watch and enjoy football? Well, that depends on your definition of the word “WATCH”.
In a world where sight is often considered crucial for enjoying sporting activities such as football, some passionate visually impaired individuals are breaking barriers and experiencing the excitement of the ongoing African Cup of Nations tournament (AFCON) in their own extraordinary way.
This article focuses on two visually impaired football enthusiasts are enjoying the ongoing AFCON.
It’s some minutes to the next match in the African cup of nations football tournament currently underway in Cote D’Ivoire. Visually impaired 30-year-old, Richard has come to savour the match with his friend, Eric, who has the same challenge. They both cannot see. They enjoy the match on a big screen, with a blasting volume, in order to follow the commentary.
And it is a lot of emotion, when there’s a goal.
“It was very difficult for me to accept that I’m going blind, because I haven’t even seen a blind man before in my life. I miss the stadium jubilation with the vuvuzela and everything,“ he said.
His wish is to see his favourite player, Mohammed Kudus one day.
“Kudus is my favourite player, I haven’t seen him before, but I always get excited, when I hear him playing,” he revealed.
They are both worried about the lack of deliberate efforts to promote inclusion for persons living with disability.
“Our stadia are not friendly to the wheelchair users. We don’t have commentary rooms for the visually impaired, like in other countries. There’s still that ancient thinking in Ghana that if you are blind, you just have to be in the room and not go out, so the facilities don’t favour us, but that shouldn’t be so. Football is not only for the sighted”, Kissi, lamented.
In the world of football, where the focus is often on what is seen on the field of play, these visually impaired fans are proving that the beautiful game can be appreciated through other senses.
And when Nigeria and hosts, Cote D’Ivoire clash for the finals of the AFCON on Sunday, the many visually impaired fans around the continent will definitely find a way to enjoy the game to the last blast of the whistle.