5-a-side football for athletes with visual impairments. Four blind football players wear eye shades and try to score into the other team's goal using a special football that jingles. The field is surrounded by boards so that the ball does not go out of play. Other important players on each team are the 'guide', who is positioned behind the opponent's goal and informs players of the goal's position, distance, and angle, the goalkeeper, who is sighted or has low-vision, and the coach who calls out to the players from the bench. (photo provided by the Japan Blind Football Association)
Tips on watching games
When watching a game of football 5-a-side, it is hard to imagine that the players are blindfolded. Arduous training has allowed the players to gain the ability to tell their own position on the playing field based on sound as well as the information that their team mates shout. No need for visual aid here. The players see the field in their minds. During a match, spectators are not only astounded by the powerful shots and the extraordinary team play, the strategic interaction between the field players and the goalkeeper will also blow your mind. However, spectators must not make any noise no matter how exciting a match can get. The reason is that the players are constantly straining their ears to hear the sound of the ball, and the verbal instructions of their team mates. In football 5-a-side, disciplined spectators cheer with all their might, in silence.