The University of Rwanda, Huye campus is home to all forms of sports and has consistently been able to generate talents that have stepped up to the national level. Goal ball is one of those sports that has been excelling on campus as this can be seen from their participation in the just begun National Goal ball Championship on February 15 2020 in Rwamagana district.
Goal ball is a team sport designed specifically for athletes with vision impairment. Participants compete in teams of three, and try to throw a ball that has bells embedded in it into the opponents’ goal. Players must use the sound of the bell to judge the position and movement of the ball. The players use ear-hand coordination to keep the ball and play within twenty minutes, ten minutes for half.
Kaminuza Star talked to some players amongst which was team captain, Niyomwungeri John who expressed his thoughts by saying Goal ball is now at a better place but would be best if promoted like other sports.
In his words, “Winning the first stage of championship proves that we not only have good goal ball level but also a good team. However, this is not known by many reason being lack of enough promotion unlike other sports”.
In addition, he lamented that they as a team are lacking behind professionally due to limited motivation.
“We are not given any motivation. We don’t demand payment because we are still studying, but besides that, we don’t feel good when our opponents play like professionals and get paid while we’re not”.
Habarugira Frederick a member of the team added that it becomes a grave issue when injuries occur. “We don’t get follow ups when we get injured. We are required to fund our treatment”.
Abimana Joyeuse, team coach, in a phone interview told Kaminuza Star that they have a team health attendant who looks after players. She also assures the players that more efforts will be put into handling their issues with help from the hierarchy . “We’re directing the matter to higher authorities for their input which will enable us win the next rounds”. She said.
We also spoke with Nsengimana Athere, UR’s Director of Sports and Culture who told Kaminuza Star that their awareness has been raised on the issue but are currently occupied with securing equipment and dealing with playgrounds maintenance issues.
He however assured that their concern will eventually be addressed and adequate solutions put in place. “We are presently waiting for the supply of equipment first to make sure that they’re well equipped and have favorable playgrounds, later on, we’ll come up with motivational schemes”, he said.
The origin of Goal ball can be traced back to 1946 when an Austrian, Hanz Lorenzen and a German, Sepp Reindle, designed a game to help visually impaired veterans of World War II.