Shillong, Jan 25: Bethany Society of Shillong cruised into the semifinals of the 3rd North East Blind Football Tournament, organised by the Indian Blind Football Federation, with two victories on the third day at Shillong Public School here today.

In the first semifinal tomorrow at 9AM, North East Shower Blind Football Club (NESBFC) of Arunachal Pradesh will take on Moran Blind School of Assam, followed by Bethany Society versus FABB Kolkata at 10:30AM. The final will then follow at 1PM. East Khasi Hills Deputy Commissioner Matsiewdor War Nongbri, Superintendent of Police CID R Muthu and Meghalaya Football Association CEO Arki Nongrum will be present on the final day.

Also at the ground today was the famous actor Victor Banerjee, who is associated with Moran Blind School. After watching the action he said, “In Meghalaya you realise that the clouds that hang over mankind are lifted when you watch blind football because you get a small sense of what blind people have to overcome.” Banerjee will also be present on the final day.

Bethany beat Mizoram Blind Society 1-0 in a tough contest with India national player Hilter Khongphai scoring. They then came through as 6-0 winners over Mont Fort School of Guwahati. Here fellow India national Gabriel Nongrum scored five goals, with one for Khongphai.

The other team from Meghalaya, Garo National Blind Football Club, drew their lone fixture against Siliguri Blind School 0-0.

NESBFC started the day with a 1-0 victory over FABB Kolkata with a goal by Tara Bangbang and they then defeat the Siliguri team 3-0 with a hat-trick by Klingson Marak.

Another hat-trick scorer from the day was Neerav of Moran Blind School, who score three goals in his team’s 4-0 win over Newbies United.

The penultimate match of the day saw FABB Kolkata qualify for the last-four stage with a 1-0 win over the Handicapped Association of Manipur.

Despite the obvious difficulties of scoring without being able to see the goal, one of the most challenging aspects of blind football is defence. The sighted goalkeepers hurl the ball forward and the opposing defenders have to keep their ears peeled for the sound of the ball, which has bells in it, and then try to shield the ball from attacking players.

We have seen some great defending and scoring over the first three days and with the top four teams now into the semis there will certainly be some great action on the final day tomorrow.

(Photo contributed by the Indian Blind Football Federation)

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