Thursday, 30 May 2013
Coaches and footballers from Worcester and West Bromwich joined forces to represent England at an international blind football tournament, coming away with a Bronze medal.
Coached by David Mycock, University of Worcester Senior Lecturer in Sports Coaching Science, the squad was just one match away from taking Gold, but was beaten by the Brazil national squad, who won Gold at last year’s Paralympic Games.
The team was made up of blind players from West Bromwich’s Sporting Club Albion, including University of Worcester graduate Lee Greatbatch, ex New College Worcester students Simon Hill and Andy Briant, Mark Turnham and sighted goalkeeper Mark Evans, plus coaching staff from Worcester Blind Football Club, including University of Worcester students Russell Wheldon and Bogdan Micu.
The tournament was held in the Czech Republic with two teams from the host nation, two teams from Germany, including one made up of players from their national squad, and a team from Brazil, again made up of its national squad. It was hosted by Masaryk University, which has close links with the University of Worcester.
David Mycock, who is also Head Coach of Worcester Blind Football Club, said: “Worcester Blind Football Club was invited to take part in the tournament after winning both the FA National League and the FA Cup this season.
“Unfortunately the Worcester players could not attend, as most are also England players and they were under an FA embargo in readiness for the European Championships in Italy in July. Therefore, with support from Sporting Club Albion, I took their players instead.”
The team beat BSC Prague 2-0, AVOY MU Brno 2-1 and St. Pauli of Hamburg 1-0 but then lost to Stuttgart FC 2-0 before being beaten by ICB Bahia Brasil in the last game.
David added: “It was a great trip and a great effort all round as we only had four players who all played the full five games in two days, which at this level was a challenge as many had not been on an international trip since the Paralympics of Beijing in 2008. The guys gave everything at the end to secure a medal though. The Worcester coaching staff had a great cohesion to it and we all encountered one of the best football trips we had ever been on.”