Brazil Seeks 4th World Championship in Five-a-side Football
- Publish Date: 2014/07/03 - (Rev. 2015/01/23)
- Author: Disabled World
- Contact : Disabled World
Outline: Brazils preparations for a possible fourth world title in five-a-side football were among the highlights of a press conference.
Brazil's preparations for a possible fourth world title in five-a-side football were among the highlights of a press conference given by Jeferson da Conceico Goncalves, known as Jefinho, today at the JSaldanha Open Media Center in Rio de Janeiro.
Currently the world's only three-time world champion in five-a-side football, a form of the sport designed for the visually impaired, Brazil will seek this year its fourth title at the IBSA (International Blind Sports Federation) World Championship in Tokyo in November. In addition to being a three-time champion at the IBSA tournament, Brazil is the only country to claim a gold medal in the Paralympic Games, in which the sport was first included in 2004 at the Athens Games. The Brazilian five-a-side football national team has won all the official championships in which it has participated since 2007.
Brazil's preparations for a possible fourth world title in five-a-side football were among the highlights of a press conference given by Jeferson da Conceico Goncalves, known as Jefinho, today at the JSaldanha Open Media Center in Rio de Janeiro. Since 2010, Jefinho has been nominated every year as the "best player in the world" in this sport. The player told his story and gave a demonstration of the sport to interact with the journalists at the briefing.
Jefinho said that the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil is showing that Brazil is really the country of football. "Everybody plays football, even people who are blind," said Jefinho. He added that he hopes that the World Cup will help to promote five-a-side football and bring new fans to this form of the sport.
"I hope that one of the legacies is that people discover that five-a-side football exists, and that they follow it and cheer a lot for us too," he said.
The Brazilian five-a-side football national team is about to start its fifth training phase in its quest for a fourth title. For one week each month, the team has intensive training at the facilities of the Niteroi Association for the Physically Disabled (Andef) in Niteroi, Brazil. The team will train from 15-22 July as part of the preparations for the world championship.
Speaking at the press conference, Jefinho also highlighted the support and encouragement given to Paralympic athletes in Brazil. In recent years, thanks to sponsorship from the national bank Caixa Economica Federal (CEF), and to support from the Brazilian Confederation of Sports for the Visually Impaired (CBDV) and the Brazilian Paralympic Committee (CPB), the five-a-side football national team members may dedicate themselves full-time to the sport, Jefinho said.
"Today the five-a-side national team has more support and a better structure, such as physiotherapists, a physiologist and a nutritionist," said Jefinho.
Jefinho was born with glaucoma and went blind at the age of seven. At 14, he began his career in football. Today, the best five-a-side football player in the world inspires other children, many of whom began to play after he joined the national team.
"I am happy to be an example for them," he said, adding that he visits visually impaired children and interacts with fans on the internet. "Today we can use social networks like everybody else."
Five-a-side football, as the name implies, is played by four line players and a goalkeeper, who is the only one in the group not visually impaired. The ball contains rattles to facilitate the players' movements on the court. Athletes are helped by a technical committee guide, who provides directions on how the team should move when attacking, in addition to the goalkeeper and coach in other moments of the game. Unlike conventional football, five-a-side football matches must be silent and fans may only cheer after goals.
Brazil has a total of 1,620 athletes who are blind registered with the CBDV. Of these, 250 are registered in five-a-side football, and will play in the national championship (A and B leagues) and in the four regional tournaments sponsored by the CBDV this year. The Brazilian team is also preparing for the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada.
Since it was chosen to host the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Brazil has been investing heavily to become a Paralympic powerhouse. Brazil has some of the world's best athletes across a range of sports, including five-a-side football. In terms of medals, Brazil's best-ever Olympic performance was in London 2012, when the Brazilian delegation finished the Games in seventh place with a total of 43 medals (21 gold, 14 silver and 8 bronze). The goal of the CPB is to improve Brazil's London performance by two positions and reach fifth overall in terms of medal count at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
In 2013, Brazil won medals in four world championships: athletics, swimming, canoeing and rowing. It has won 70 medals (29 gold, 19 silver and 22 bronze). This year, the country has already won medals at the World Weightlifting Championship and in sitting volleyball.
The national sport benefits from a number of incentive programs, including the Agnelo/Piva Law, the Law for Encouragement of Sport, the Bolsa Atleta (Athlete Grant) program, several other agreements signed with confederations, clubs and other organizations, sponsorship deals with state-owned companies and, most recently, the Brasil Medal has ("Medals Brazil") Plan.