How was Uzbekistan's first amputee football championship held?
The first 'Independence Cup' for amputee disabled football was held in Bukhara from 11-16 September.
The tournament was organised by the Centre for the Development of Football for Disabled Amputees "Matonat Football" (CDFDA) and was held thanks to the support of InfinBANK, which cares about the plight of disabled amputee athletes. Players from all regions of Uzbekistan participated in the championship. Six teams took part in the final tournament.
The rules for amputee football have their own particularities. The size of the football pitch differs from the standard - 60 x 40 metres. There are 7 players on the pitch without one lower limb or shortened on crutches, the goalkeeper without one arm or with a congenital pathology. The match lasts 2 halves of 20 minutes with a break. The goalkeeper's action is restricted to the goalkeeper's area, the "goal keeper" cannot go beyond the penalty line. Players are not allowed to play with crutches or stumps, this will be considered an infringement of the rules.
In an exemplary match on 16 September, the strongest players were divided into two teams: Uzbekistan's No.1 and No.2, and they played decently against each other. The level and quality of play showed the superiority of the first team. The Uzbekistan No 1 team easily defeated the second team 9-1. The players showed their full readiness for the upcoming World Cup in Turkey.
The Uzbekistan national team will arrive in Turkey on 23 September to train and adapt to the weather. The team is in a serious group, including teams from Poland and Spain. Although Poland is the favourite to win the World Cup, Uzbekistan is a five-time world champion. The team is solid and ready to take on any opponent.
We believe that the Uzbekistan team will reach the final, lift the cup over their heads and, at the end of the final, the Uzbekistan national anthem will be played in Istanbul.
Abdujamol Shukurov, captain of the Uzbekistan team, shared with his emotions:
— We have been at our best in this tournament, the training and preparation for the World Cup is going very well. The team is competitive, maximally prepared and motivated. The composition of the team is world champions. We understand that there will be no easy games in the championship. We hope that we will have a good result in this World Cup. Thanks to InfinBank we paid the membership fee to take part in the world championship. If not for the help of our sponsor the national team would not have come to the tournament.
Rustam Mehmonov, head of Matonat-Football, also shared with his emotions:
- Over the 30 years of the team's existence, we have faced many difficulties. Most often there is a lack of resources and material support. After an NGO (non-governmental non-profit organization) was approved, we started receiving sponsorship. For example, the current tournament and the upcoming World Championships have been financed by InfinBANK. This is very motivating for the guys, they are determined to defend the honour of the country proudly at international tournaments.