A partially sighted futsal team from the Royal National College for the Blind challenged a fully sighted team to a match last week (13 December).

The match was held in the Sports Hall at thePoint4, and to give the fully sighted team (The Reds) a taste of what it’s like to play with limited vision, they were asked to wear simulation glasses during their warm-up.

Following the warm-up the players were asked about their experience:

‘It was challenging – you take it all for granted’ said one player. ‘Your peripheral vision is completely zoomed in, while normally It would be much wider. I had great respect for the partially sighted players before, but this is a good experiment to see how they do it.’

Another player commented: ‘It was very blurry – you lose track of the ball.’ With the youngest player on the team saying: ‘It was very hard to see.’

The match itself was a fast-paced and entertaining affair. RNC’s Goalkeeper, Dylan Malpas, said:

‘We ended up winning 9-3, but for us, it was more about bringing people in to show what we do here at RNC and hopefully get them to come and support us in our upcoming fixtures.’

After the match came the penalty shootout with The Reds again wearing simulation glasses. RNC won the shootout 2-1, with some excellent saves from both goalkeepers.

Muhammad (Murts) Jamil, the captain of the RNC team, organised and played in the match as part of his Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) on the topic of partially sighted futsal. He said:

‘The match was organised to raise awareness for the Partially Sighted Futsal League as I play partially sighted futsal and I’m on the England National Talent Pathway. Before I came to RNC I had no idea about this sport so I’m doing this to give everyone around the country the awareness and the opportunity to come and play partially sighted futsal.’

Murts was also pleased with the performance of his team:

‘Everyone played well and contributed. It showcased what partially sighted futsal is, and I’m glad how it turned out.’

If you’d like to see some of RNC’s talented players in action, the College will be hosting a festival of football on 30 March 2024. It will be a great community event, with football-related activities and food and drink vendors, alongside a tournament which will see six European teams, including RNC Hereford, compete for the European Blind Football League title.

It’s a great opportunity to come and support the local team and enjoy some entertaining football. Mark your calendars now!