Football 5-a-side Ones to Watch announced

Spanish capital city of Madrid to stage World Championships this week 05 Jun 2018
a group of blind footballers in action

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has announced its football 5-a-side Ones to Watch ahead of the 2018 International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) World Championships set to take place in Madrid, Spain, from 7-17 June.

Selected in partnership with IBSA, the Ones to Watch are those players who have the potential to make it to the headlines at the sport’s biggest competition outside the Paralympic Games.

The list includes Paralympic and world champions, and ful biographies of the athletes can be found on the International Paralympic Committee website.

The Ones to Watch for football 5-a-side are:

Abderrazak Hattab (MAR)

Is considered by many as the best football 5-a-side player in Africa due his phenomenal track record of goals.

Antonio Gaitan (ESP)

The five-time European champion has represented Spain across all four editions of the football 5-a-side competition at the Paralympics, picking up bronze twice in 2004 and 2012.

Behzad Zadaliasghari (IRI)

Led the Iranian team that made history at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games by claiming silver, eliminating powerhouses Argentina along the way.

Hasan Satay (TUR)

Is rapidly transforming into a prolific goal scorer for the Turkish national team, scoring 11 goals at the 2017 European Championships.

Jefinho (BRA)

One of the world’s biggest Paralympic stars comes from a country where football is more a religion than a sport.

Ricardinho (BRA)

Has succeeded as the captain of the all-conquering Brazilian football 5-a-side team that has won every major title.

Silvio Velo (ARG)

The ‘Blind Maradona’ has been part of the Argentinian national team for over two decades, achieving multiple successes.

Wei Jiansen (CHN)

Has been an integral part of the Chinese team for four years, helping them win their fifth Asian Championships title in 2017.

The 2018 IBSA Blind Football World Championships will feature 16 of the world’s best teams. As well as the title on offer the competition is also an important step on the road to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.

After the Opening Ceremony and match on 7 June, the group stages get underway in earnest on 8 June. The quarter finals and play-offs begin on 13 June with the final taking place on 17 June.