Sport week: Football 5 storylines at Rio 201614.05.2016
Five potential storylines to follow heading into September’s Paralympic Games.
“We want to win a medal. Our players are very much motivated.”
1. Brazil-Argentina rivalry
The Rio 2016 hosts and world champions maintain a 100 percent record at the Paralympics and are the strong favourites for the gold once again.
However, they will face tough-opposition from rivals Argentina, who are hoping for a rematch after losing to Brazil in the final of both the 2014 IBSA World Championships and the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games.
“Both teams know each other very well and we are aware that if we make one mistake against them, we might lose,” said Jefinho, Brazil main goal scorer.
Argentina’s Silvio Velo agreed with his rival: “Both teams are very careful when having to face each other. I would say those matches are like chess games."
2. Turkey seeks to win another title
Turkey was disappointing eliminated in the group stages at London 2012 after losses to Brazil, China and France. The team has responded well and won the 2015 IBSA Blind Football European Championships.
They now hope to rub shoulders with top-seeds Brazil and Argentina.
“The target is simple. We want to become Paralympic champions,” said Emrah Ocal, Turkey’s leading scorer.
“Our team is like a big family and that is our main strength. Besides, we are all willing to learn new things and improve constantly.”
3. Ricardinho’s injury keeps Brazil on tenterhooks
The two-time football 5 world player of the year suffered a leg injury early last April while playing the Brazilian South Regional final. He will be back on the fields in a few months’ thus will not benefit from the training sessions the rest of the national team are enjoying ahead of Rio 2016.
“I am recovering and very soon I will be doing physiotherapy sessions so I can be back in action as soon as possible and represent Brazil at the Paralympics,” Ricardinho said on social media.
4. Iran ready to upset World’s elite
Wildcards Iran burst onto the football 5 scene at London 2012 with a win over hosts Great Britain.
Two years later, Iran claimed the Asian Para Games football 5 title to qualify for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. Iran’s Zadaliasghari Yengejeh Behzad was the top-scorer of the competition with four goals.
The Asian team expects those previous results to serve as a platform for Rio 2016 success.
5. Morocco’s Paralympic debut
Morocco will be the first African football 5-a-side team competing at the Paralympics.
“We want to win a medal. Our players are very much motivated. Brazil and Argentina are the strongest teams as they have talented players and forceful defences,” said Driss El Mountaqi, Morocco’s coach.
“The team play, the spirit and the passion for the sport are our main strengths.”
Editor’s note: Each sport on the Rio 2016 Paralympic programme will have a dedicated week of featured content published on paralympic.org. Every week a new sport will be featured and the series will run until September’s Games, helping the public understand more about the 22 sports being contested in Rio.
Sport fans from around the world can now buy their Paralympic tickets for Rio 2016 from authorised ticket resellers (ATRs).
Residents of Brazil can buy 2016 Paralympics tickets directly from the Rio 2016 website.