England Blind Football team captain Keryn Seal feels his side’s performances at the IBSA World Games in Seoul has given them great belief ahead of the European Championships in August.
England finished second in South Korea, after losing the final 2-1 to Argentina in the dying seconds of the match.
The Three Lions were in impressive form en-route to the final after three wins and one draw in which they scored 13 goals.
“We were 37 seconds away from our first major tournament victory as an England or Great Britain team in nearly 20 years of trying.
“Were it not for some inexperienced refereeing in that final, we would be here with gold medals and not another silver one to add to our collections,” said Seal.
“However, I know that in the years to come I will look back on this silver with much more pride than the others. The reason is we were good enough and played well enough to win that final.”
“The World Games has given us tremendous belief going into the European Championships this August. Before this tournament we had gone 13 games unbeaten in a long string of friendly matches.
“But to give five excellent and sometimes hard-fought performances back-to-back in a tournament format really shows us the strength of where we are currently.”
After their performances in South Korea and their recent good form, England go into the Blind Euros as one of the favourites.
The tournament will be played at the Point4 at The Royal National College for the Blind (RNC) in Hereford and the top two teams will qualify for the Paralympics in Rio next year.
The England skipper explained how he believes the home support given in Hereford will be of great importance to the team.
Seal said: “It is always a boost to any home nation in a sports competition and blind football is no different. We received excellent support in Hereford back in 2010 for the World Championships and we look forward to much more of the same this year.
“The people of Hereford are always very knowledgeable about the game and seem to have an affinity with the team; probably due to the city’s excellent relationship with the College.”
The tournament is set to be one of the biggest disability sports events in the country since the 2012 Paralympics in London.
“I really hope the ticket sales are a success,” said Seal.
“I’d like for them to sell out for every one of our games. Most of our matches are in the evenings, which make them suitable for people who work during the daytime.
“I’m looking forward to my family coming up from Exeter and South Wales to support me, too.”
To purchase tickets to the IBSA Blind Football European Championships 2015, visit http://tickets.rncb.ac.uk/. The tournament takes place between 22 and 29 August.
- Image courtesy of Channel 4 via YouTube, with thanks.
By Aaron Fowler