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Talented Blind Footballer Takes A Dale Training Session

27 April 2016

Rochdale Football Club were delighted to welcome talented blind footballer and local lad Azeem Amir to a training session earlier this week.

The 17-year-old, who is currently studying law, psychology and economics at Rochdale Sixth Form College, plays for Manchester Blind FC and Merseyside Blind FC and has inspirations to play for the national side in the future. 

On Monday, Azeem spent the morning with Dale’s Youth Team squad and a few first team players, and took full control as he put the group, who were wearing blindfolds, through an hour long training session. 

Rick Ashcroft, Dale’s Head of Academy Coaching, said: “Azeem is an inspirational young man. He was very confident and very comfortable in delivering the session to the boys.

“He’s only 17 so he’s in the same age band as the lads, so it was great to have Azeem in. He has come into training and shown what a capable and positive young man he is. He doesn’t let his visual impairment get in his way. 

“The boys really enjoyed it and they all thought the session was brilliant. It was pleasure to have Azeem involved.”

Azeem added: “That was the first time I’ve delivered a proper session. I wrote down some notes and took it from there. I had a rough idea of what I was going to do, and I thought it all flowed really well. 

“Everyone joined in and everyone seemed to have fun. Putting blindfolds on is scary because you’re taking a massive sense away but they took to it really well. The most important thing was that they had fun.”

Azeem, who was born with an eye condition and only has 20-percent vision, was first introduced to the idea of blind football at a try-out sports day, as Azeem explains. 

“Someone at the sports said ‘How about you try a bit of blind football?’ They got one of the coaches at Manchester to give me a ring and it went from there. I started to train with Manchester on Wednesday nights, and that was the first time I ever put the blindfold on to have a feel of what it was like to play blind football, and it’s progressed on from there. I train with them weekly and with Merseyside FC on the weekend.”

But club football isn’t the limit for Azeem – he has his sights set even higher.

“The aim is to go as far as England, but there’s a lot of time to go yet. I’m only young for starters, and I’ve got to develop myself. Keep at it, keep going, keep training, develop my body, develop my technique, and then hopefully I can get picked up by England and go international.”

Go behind the scenes at the session on Dale PlayerHD. 

There's a full interview with Azeem on Dale PlayerHD. 

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