Meet the man who introduced blind football to Uganda
Uganda’s cricket ground was the venue for the first-ever world match against a country with blind people as the only players in the team.
The tournament was held on the cricket ground in Nyanza County, Kyeima, on August 18, 2015, alongside two teams representing Africa’s two largest religions, Islam (a non-Catholic team) and Protestant Christianity (a Catholic team). It was the first time the event had been played at a county football and cricket ground in Africa.
In 2010, an initiative called Blind Cricket Initiative was created to promote participation in cricket for blind people in Uganda. It was started by a blind cricket player in Nairobi who had been inspired by the idea of blind cricket. As well as giving cricket a new meaning for the many blind people in the area, the initiative would help the cricket community to develop their cricket skills and abilities. Over the past thirteen years, the initiative has worked to bring cricket tournaments to various parts of Africa, including Uganda. It’s worked in partnership with the Royal Life Church, which is the largest Protestant church in Uganda.
In a country where cricket is a religion, cricket and football are considered to be the most important sports, the introduction of cricket to blind people in such a major way is a testament to how far the idea of ‘blind football’ has come since its inception three years ago.
In the early days when we first started trying to bring cricket to the blind, a lot of the ideas were from people representing football and cricket and not blind people. The idea to have a blind cricket team had come from a football player who had played in the English first-class team. Through that, we got the cricket and football teams on the same side. The cricket teams have grown from strength to strength because cricket has a very low profile. It’s very well-known and people know about the existence of cricket in the country, but they don’t know about football or the blind and cricket is the missing link for many people.
In the past, cricket has been played on grounds and clubs, but