Shillong, Oct 6: The Indian national team finished fifth in the IBSA Blind Football Asian Championship in Pattaya, Thailand, today.

This was the first time that India had taken part in the tournament. The Indian Blind Football Federation team had named two Meghalaya players in the squad before the start of the championship – Gabriel Nongrum and Klingson Marak.

India were drawn in a tough Group A, with hosts Thailand, defending champions China and South Korea.

India started with consecutive defeats to Thailand (6-0) and China (5-0) before drawing 0-0 with South Korea. That was a good result as South Korea are ranked 15 places above India and it put India third in the group on goal difference over the Koreans (-11 to -12).

Today India took on Group B’s Malaysia in the fifth place playoff. Malaysia had finished third in their group. Shivam Negi scored India’s first goals to defeat Malaysia 2-0 and take fifth place in the championship.

In blind football, all players except the goalkeeper are blindfolded and are assisted by a coach and a goal guide. The players are guided by the sound of the ball, which contains bells. The goalkeeper, goal guide (who stays behind the opposite goal) and the coach (who runs along the side of the pitch) are the three sighted assistants who call out and direct the players to move with the ball.

(Photo contributed)

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