Countdown to kick off for the GB Blind Football Team
With only a month until their first competitive match at the London 2012 Paralympics, the GB Blind Football Squad have completed their final training camp in Hereford at The Royal National College for the Blind (RNC) in preparation for the Games.
GB head coach, Tony Larkin said “Obviously we’re all really excited about competing at a home Games, but we’re focused on the job we have to do. The effort from the entire squad has been fantastic. We know from our preparations just how much we’ve developed as a team and we are aiming to be on the podium.”
After finishing fifth at the Beijing Paralympics in 2008, Tony acknowledges they will face tough competition, “There’s never an easy game at this level, but we’ve worked hard in training and have a good depth in the squad. We have a great mix of experienced players and a crop of young players who have developed through RNC’s Football Academy – we’re confident we will perform well.”
GB blind football’s most capped player is captain, Dave Clarke. At 41years old this likely to be Dave’s final Paralympics in an international career where he has amassed 124 goals in 131 appearances.
The Blind Football Squad have been preparing for the Paralympics at RNC’s sport and fitness facility, thePoint4, and Tony, who is also the Director of Business at RNC was quick to realise how important the College has been as a venue, “RNC’s facilities for blind football are second to none, best demonstrated when RNC hosted the IBSA World Blind Football Championships in 2010. Having a training facility of this quality has been fantastic.”
RNC Principal, Sheila Tallon said “the College is very proud of our association with such a talented group of athletes and we are delighted to have a number of current students and RNC graduates in the GB squad.”
The GB Blind Football team are in Pool A and will play Argentina, Islamic Republic of Iran and Spain in order to reach the knockout stage. In Pool B reigning Paralympics champions Brazil play China, France and Turkey.
Pool A - Fixtures
Thursday 31 August – GB v Spain
Sunday 2 September – Argentina v GB
Tuesday 4 September – GB v Islamic Republic of Iran
Thursday 6 September – Semi-finals day
Saturday 8 September
Bronze Medal Match
Gold Medal Match