Episode 171 – Unstoppable Blind Football Organizer with Jagwe Muzafaru
As regular listeners to Unstoppable Mindset have observed, I have the opportunity to talk with a number of people referred to me by Sheldon Lewis, accessiBe’s nonprofit coordinator. This episode includes one such person, Jagwe Muzafaru from Uganda. I will tell you upfront that you will need to listen pretty carefully to Jagwe as his Ugandan accent is quite pronounced, but he is quite articulate and I believe you will enjoy him.
Jagwe is nearly 27 years old. He has earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Computing. Due to burns when he was younger, his eyesight would classify him as low vision.
For a number of years, he has had an interest in sports. In 2021 he organized his company, Blind Football Uganda. Of course, “Football” is what we call “soccer” here in the States. Blind people playing Soccer/Football? Why not. I leave it to Jagwe to tell us all about how that is done. Believe me, the sport is every bit as competitive for blind people as for sighted people and teams.
I very much hope Jagwe’s story will inspire you and help you to gain a broader dimension of blindness. Near the end of our time, Jagwe tells us how people can help support his efforts.
About the Guest:
Jagwe is a graduate of Makerere University (MUBS) class of 2019 with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Computing. He is the Founder and Chairman of Blind Football Uganda a Para football organisation governing, promoting and developing the game of Blind Football in Uganda, a para sport administrator and a disability inclusion advocate who began his Para sport career as a volunteer with Uganda Paralympic Committee in 2018.
Ways to connect with Jagwe:
Link to GoFundMe effort for Uganda Blind Football, https://gofund.me/7a712989
Links about Blind Football, Uganda
Voice of America: https://www.voaafrica.com/a/6779597.html
Al Jazeera: https://youtu.be/i6hqF2z9qi0
Black Excellence Media: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8xd3qbEi5o
New Vision: https://www.newvision.co.ug/articledetails/135489/blind-football-sets-sight-on-2024-paralympic
The Observer: https://observer.ug/sports/75448-blind-football-giving-new-opportunities-to-visually-impaired
NTV Uganda: https://www.ntv.co.ug/ug/news/sports/blind-football-players-are-eying-international-competitions-3995476
Mazima news: https://mazima.ug/sports/uganda-set-to-start-national-blind-football-league/
Uganda Radio Network: https://ugandaradionetwork.net/story/ugand-set-to-start-national-blind-football-league
Beautiful news South Africa: https://www.facebook.com/1675691709362077/posts/3300601080204457/?flite=scwspnss&mibextid=u81vWr868JTqCiLD
Solutions now Africa: https://youtu.be/YHP7Ih1slgM
About the Host:
Michael Hingson is a New York Times best-selling author, international lecturer, and Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe. Michael, blind since birth, survived the 9/11 attacks with the help of his guide dog Roselle. This story is the subject of his best-selling book, Thunder Dog.
Michael gives over 100 presentations around the world each year speaking to influential groups such as Exxon Mobile, AT&T, Federal Express, Scripps College, Rutgers University, Children’s Hospital, and the American Red Cross just to name a few. He is Ambassador for the National Braille Literacy Campaign for the National Federation of the Blind and also serves as Ambassador for the American Humane Association’s 2012 Hero Dog Awards.
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Michael Hingson ** 00:00
Access Cast and accessiBe Initiative presents Unstoppable Mindset. The podcast where inclusion, diversity and the unexpected meet. Hi, I’m Michael Hingson, Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe and the author of the number one New York Times bestselling book, Thunder dog, the story of a blind man, his guide dog and the triumph of trust. Thanks for joining me on my podcast as we explore our own blinding fears of inclusion unacceptance and our resistance to change. We will discover the idea that no matter the situation, or the people we encounter, our own fears, and prejudices often are our strongest barriers to moving forward. The unstoppable mindset podcast is sponsored by accessiBe, that’s a c c e s s i capital B e. Visit www.accessibe.com to learn how you can make your website accessible for persons with disabilities. And to help make the internet fully inclusive by the year 2025. Glad you dropped by we’re happy to meet you and to have you here with us.
Michael Hingson ** 01:16
Well, hi once again. And here we are with another episode of unstoppable mindset. Today, we get to travel outside of the United States to meet with Jagwe Muzafaru and I’m hoping I’m pronouncing that mostly right if I’m not he’ll correct me. He is a person who has become very much involved in Paralympics in Uganda, especially blind football and we’re going to talk about that what it is and, and and hear other things from him as well. So Jagwe, welcome to unstoppable mindset. We’re really glad you’re here.
Jagwe Muzafaru ** 02:00
Thank you. Thank you, Mike, for hearing addition and interest in what I do.
Michael Hingson ** 02:06
Well, so I want you to start if you would, by telling us about you as a young man, and growing up and all that kind of stuff. So have you been blind your whole life? And none truly
Jagwe Muzafaru ** 02:24
informed you My name is Jagwe Muzafaru. And I’m the founder and CEO but tell you about my story. I’m totally blind or blind. Yes, I did. And I have one of my left eye is the one which domain and this came as a result of from school with a good a good band on the left side of the body with fire and lift my I dealt with the left side that your essay has some site. Yeah,
Michael Hingson ** 03:03
but you are considered blind today. You are considered a person who is who is pretty much mostly blind, I assume.
Jagwe Muzafaru ** 03:11
Yeah, but they consider me as somebody with low vision may be
Michael Hingson ** 03:16
okay with low vision is fine. We we bring them all together. So that’s okay. So tell me about you growing up. So you went to school and all that and well, so tell us about you a little bit growing up.
Jagwe Muzafaru ** 03:31
Yeah. I went to school. And growing up, I’m born in a family of about eight people by the last born in the family. And I grew up maybe being taken care of by mostly my brothers sisters around because our mom, too, has grown us simply alone. Because that day the alley when I was young, in the 90s and then she has been caring for us for over all those years up to now. So for the studying, I started up to University where I graduated as a in a budget with a bachelor’s degree in business computing from Macquarie University. And for through the growing up. It’s where I’ve been participating in several events, mostly in sports. And that’s where the interest came in. And this really interest comes in from what I do what I run, carrying, because even at campus I used to spit in sports. But I suppose mostly especially global, and it’s really I will be in is to also inventor into sports management as an administrator.
Michael Hingson ** 05:05
Okay, so tell us a little bit about what Goalball is.
Jagwe Muzafaru ** 05:12
Football is a team sport that is played by three people on each side. And for Bobo, you roll the ball around, but the ball makes you roll the ball around sending it to, to open it. And if you miss the ball, they end up, they end up scoring a goal, or it’s a goal, which is considered if they fail to block the ball from going into their neck. Okay? for it. It’s played on a surface of 18 by 918 meters long by nine in width. And it’s played by three people specifically, but all these people are all blindfolded.
Michael Hingson ** 05:55
There, they’re blindfolded or, or they’re blind.
Jagwe Muzafaru ** 05:59
They’re blind, they can be blind or visually impaired. But they are blind for it. Right.
Michael Hingson ** 06:05
So that every move some
Jagwe Muzafaru ** 06:07
people Yeah, they are on an equal ground. So yeah, for for sports, we use certain ones like that i applying and then blind. So where does it come from? It comes from the classes that they give us for be one of those people who have not no, uh, no level of sight, or they can’t see anything, then forbid to those are the people we always consider, who have some sight who can even do that this is a shape of something oh, can tell that this is light. So for with the people were cited, slightly cited, and this bit is at least have some side. They can do we can easily read or the use large print. And these can be people who have albinism or people when your eyes simply damaged, or people have long sightedness or short sightedness. So that’s how we are categorized. So if I use the blind, so nobody get confused the voltage.
Michael Hingson ** 07:19
Okay. So you got a bachelor’s in business computing? And when did you get that degree?
Jagwe Muzafaru ** 07:30
I graduated in 2019
Michael Hingson ** 07:32
and 2019. So how old are you now?
Jagwe Muzafaru ** 07:36
I’m going to plug in 27 in August.
Michael Hingson ** 07:40
Okay, well, and early, happy birthday to you. I was just asking because I wanted to really just put everything in perspective, because you have really done a lot. Since graduating. And while you were in school, you have done a lot. And I think that’s pretty interesting to really have some of those experiences. So you formed an organization? When did you form it? And what’s the name of it? And what is it do?
Jagwe Muzafaru ** 08:15
Yeah, I started the organization. It’s called blind football, Uganda. And I started in 2021. So blind football Uganda, it’s a two way organization. First, we run it as an NGO that advocates for a few things related to persons with visual impairments and blindness. And then on the other side, we run it as a sports federation. So on the Ugandan setting, we are recognized by you we are affiliated to Uganda only Paralympic Committee, and, and even which is a member of our National Council of Sports. And currently we are, we applied to for review, to be and also to affiliate and our FA in Uganda, which is Federation of Uganda Football Association, that is FIFA. And so blind football Uganda is a passport organizations that specifically govern, promote, develops, and, and make the sport of blind football and when I tell you about blind football, it’s a sport or game that is played specifically by people who are blind or visually impaired depending on their category.
Michael Hingson ** 09:41
Well, now you’ve told us about gold ball. And I assume that blind football is different than gold ball. gold ball sounds more like well, I was gonna say it sounds more like soccer but, but what’s the difference between gold ball and blind football?
Jagwe Muzafaru ** 10:02
Yeah, the difference between Goldberg and blank Soccer is the way it’s played. For Goldberg Goldberg is played on. It’s a team sport, like blind football, but golf is played by three people. But blind football will play five people on a beach. For Bobo, we use hands, draw the ball, then the ball reaches the open ends. But for blind football, we specifically use the feet we kick
Michael Hingson ** 10:32
the ball, like with regular soccer.
Jagwe Muzafaru ** 10:36
Yeah, it’s like no more rigid Ahsoka. And to tell you about later about blind football, blind football is a modified sport from the game of food. So for those who may have been in knowing foods or food, so is, is also a no more like a sighted persons game is played on foot on my foot diameter by 20 meter surface which is also blind football size of a game. But the difference comes in with a with the rules that we use our rules for blind football are always modified in one way, as compared to as compared to the footstool site. There are some things that will remove that applied in footsore, which don’t apply in blind football, for example, for status, the ball we used to play is a board that makes returning sound whenever it was. So this is, I haven’t worked here with me. And I think I can
Michael Hingson ** 11:39
I hear that. And so, whenever the ball moves, that’s when, whenever the ball moves, that’s what what people here.
Jagwe Muzafaru ** 11:50
Yeah, that’s the sound that it creates. As the boat. Yeah, and as the book keeps play in play. So the person who always have the ball, he has to say, or he has to keep quiet play. And I you can imagine if somebody is blindfolded, and is blind, how can somebody play without being injured? So we have communicating words or rules that we have in play. One of them is the voice rule. So it’s V OYV. Oy, it comes from a Spanish word, it is it. It’s just an interpretation of a Spanish word, which we use to save go go. So for us, we use voivode. Why is it in Spanish because the game was developed in Spain in 1970s, around 1970s. So if I’m the one with the ball, I have to keep sailing and keep playing. So if Mike has the ball, Mike has to say void void. So that’s how I can easily understand that Mike is coming from the side I and then find means of dodging, not colliding with him. So when I hear his voice Desna is going to come off in an offense or defense mode to just take the ball or take possession of the ball from you. So to prevent it, you have to do it. And before us, we have gates in our in our normally now game behind the goalkeepers the somebody who stands behind the goalkeepers and communicates to a player that you have reached this direction. You can shoot any reduce them awareness so that they know and reach a point that they can shoot a ball at any time. So that’s how they structure the structure. But some things are moved, like offsides, we don’t have offsides, we play for less than two minutes late, which is not the same for cited for football. For us we play for 15 minutes, one half is 15 and the other half is 15. Which makes a total awful time that in minutes. So in the past we have been playing for 20 minutes each half. But as per the modified rules for this year occupant 2015 25 We are playing for 15 minutes on this stuff. So 14 by 20. And the only side on the side of the photo meters we always have boards that cover the catch lines because if somebody is blind, there is no way you can throw the ball if the ball goes out. There is no way you can throw it when when they can see and about a team it’s played on by five people on each side. But the goalkeeper is a sighted person. The four outfield players are always blind or are blindfolded, but the goalkeeper is a sighted person And then as I’ve told you, behind the goalkeeper there has to be a guide with Deluxe these people are playing. The sweet thing about it. When it comes to scoring goals, the four outfield players can score a goal and they can be considered. But they will keep Piven if you score as any goal, it can’t be considered for reason of fairness. And some people always wonder, why do blind people have to be you know, they’re blind. So how, why do you still have to blindfold them? It’s because of the classification that we have. Because some may be have some little side as mainland. And in football or in sports, we always have to promote that thing of fair play. So we cover their eyes, to put them at a level of ground where everybody plays at a level ground. And the game is played by male and female categories.
Michael Hingson ** 15:59
But they’re separate teams. So you don’t have male and female on the same team? Or do you
Jagwe Muzafaru ** 16:05
know, we don’t have male on the same team? They feel differently. But when it comes to training for inclusive matches, you can do it but for official matches, standard matches. They’re separate teams.
Michael Hingson ** 16:22
So I’m curious, why did they cut the time from 20 minutes and a half to 15 minutes and a half?
Jagwe Muzafaru ** 16:29
I personally I don’t sit on the on the on the assembly. Because internationally, you have to be a member of the International blind spots association. So for me, I’m at the receiving end, I didn’t really get to know why they cut it. And Nick, as began this year, in January, last year in Vietnam, and
Michael Hingson ** 16:55
so now so when again, we’re talking about blind football or what we call in the United States Soccer, right? Yeah, right. Right. Well, flying football is.
Jagwe Muzafaru ** 17:12
Yeah, it’s it should stay as well. Because when you consider your use you your direction like football, what you consider as football. It’s used if you play with hands, which is?
Michael Hingson ** 17:25
Yeah. Yeah, well, no, I understand. And in most parts of the world, it is football, not soccer. So it’s okay. So now, how do people? How do people know where the goal is? So you’re playing and everyone is being very active? And they’re trying to get the ball or stop the ball and so on. But how do you know where the goal is? Does the goalkeeper make sound? Is there some other sounds so that people know where the goal is compared to where they are? Yeah,
Jagwe Muzafaru ** 17:57
that’s something I’ve been, I’ve talked about that forever. Every game has to get a guide. And the guide is a sighted person. So that’s the person who communicates to the players when they play, it seem to them the direction of the goal, it seems to them when to shoot, or how to move, if they are going to reach the goal line or to score the state gate. They roll the game.
Michael Hingson ** 18:27
So how do people know when they’re near the goal?
Jagwe Muzafaru ** 18:31
Yeah, it’s the guide still tells them because the goalkeeper doesn’t have to. That’s not his work,
Michael Hingson ** 18:37
right? So there are guides that tell you that that that notify people
Jagwe Muzafaru ** 18:43
Yeah, they stand behind the goals, like they give them two meters by two meters by length, and then five meters maybe by windy. This this is how they will always stand behind the goal line. So in that way, he can tell that you have reached the goal. You can shoot that that place then you should Okay.
Michael Hingson ** 19:15
All right. It’s It’s fascinating and certainly it is very I assume it’s as aggressive a game as regular foot sighted said that people’s football in Uganda.
Jagwe Muzafaru ** 19:30
Yeah, yeah. aggressive and very, because Uganda is a football loving country. People have really embraced it.
Michael Hingson ** 19:40
Well, and that’s, that’s fine. So how many blind football teams are there in Uganda at this point?
Jagwe Muzafaru ** 19:53
At this point, we have eight teams that I can safely if I say that tomorrow we have a competition We have ATMs and these teams are spread to Blue bullies then in the north, Northern Uganda. We have a team in in the center in the central area. We are situated in two universities, the central like Kampala, we have one team two teams in Macquarie University and then even CHambo University. And then we have also team in camera the cameras in the east of Uganda. After ginger, you go to calmly Oregon. So Camilla is in the East. And we also have a team there. And as of this week, I’ve spent a day a week in sorrow desert is almost like 292 kilometers in the East Far East, where we have fully organized and set up new team in cirrhotic districts and as they go on, we are many as but as per the current working on with my colleagues, we are remaining with to two venues to areas that we are going to introduce playing football and then we shall set up teams there from the age when they will increase either to 12 or 13. So we are remaining with Lila realize she is in the north and then cover a cover the district and Cavalli is in the west. It comes
Michael Hingson ** 21:34
you have a teens now but you’re growing, which is exciting. So how, how big are the crowds that come to watch you play?
Jagwe Muzafaru ** 21:46
So far, most of the crowds that we are for this year as policia the crowds, we have organized the games have been specifically crowded within school settings, like secondary schools, to bring people aware about the sport and know how it is played. The crowds are very, very exciting. And the crowds are very, very many when we organize them. But our major product is various the blind football championship and that happens always on the 14th of October. We either do it on the 14th or 15th. As reserved word said they are white king, one of the two days but this year we are going to do it on on the 14th of October. So on the 14th Yeah, we always have so many people come around and then B is j s AP. is the major product that we sell the blank Bowl championship every year.
Michael Hingson ** 22:50
How many people do you think there will be
Jagwe Muzafaru ** 22:51
this year? This year? I can’t tell because it’s an open ground. So even if people are just passing they kind of come around and and see. Yeah, so I can tell at the moment. And lucky enough because of the activeness. We have. We have a team that has already requested it’s going to come from Nairobi, Kenya, to be part of this year’s don’t I mean, because they understood that in Kenya, the blind football is not so active. And the people want to play. So when one of the coordinators there requested to me and we accepted, they are coming to Uganda, so we may have to have nine teams if they also come around.
Michael Hingson ** 23:39
How many people came to the championship game last year?
Jagwe Muzafaru ** 23:43
That is we didn’t record their numbers. Because the best game but they it was they were very, they are known so so many because we used an indoor beach. It was an indoor Beach, UK. And for Anindo it’s always resisted the numbers but I can tell from the media. Because so many media persons were with us. They come around on that day.
Michael Hingson ** 24:13
You get a lot of people who are fans of sighted football who also come to see blind football because it’s still a football game.
Jagwe Muzafaru ** 24:23
Yeah. And so when by the way most of our spectators are always people who are sighted. Most of them well, yeah, because just as coming around wearing a jersey branded blind football, Uganda so somebody starts to imagine these guys are blind. They are going to play football. How do they play? So that intriguing mind forces somebody to come and see and stay around?
Michael Hingson ** 24:54
Why did you specifically start the organization blind football I’m what what really made you do that?
Jagwe Muzafaru ** 25:07
For the first instance, is to give it was to widen the opportunities for playing opportunities for persons with visual impairments, to see that they can play some more from global and athletics, because those two spots are traditionally then in schools that have been here, but they don’t observe a given number of people, or they don’t give an update. Appreciate it. So I looked at, why can’t we? Why can’t I set up something that you can see, anybody can relate with. And, and way wherever you move in every household, there is somebody who plays football, or there’s somebody who talks about football on the day, even if they don’t pay at least a support. So that inspired me to start but as well, on my personal grounds, I always looked at most of us when we left sports at the university, and then we come to the community, most of the sports activities always die and stop at the university. So for me, I looked at why can’t we start something and then be the spearhead that Oh, something that can grow and then be of great value to our communities. So from universities, I looked at, come into community, I looked at doing sports as a career itself, and inspire people to come and join the sports environment. Because in Uganda, our focus is always on jobs, jobs, jobs, and jobs are never easy to get. So I looked at sports as a shortcut, which can offer solutions to our socio economic difficulties that we have in our community, because sports is a universal language that you can use to promote or campaigned for anything. You can use words to promote jobs, your job creation, because of the network you may be having. You can use food as, as therapy, you can use sports as a health or well being activity in all aspects. So those are majorly the reasons why I strictly decided to form and start that organization and promote event planning.
Michael Hingson ** 27:32
Now, the real serious question is, do you play blind football today?
Jagwe Muzafaru ** 27:42
I learned probably, I don’t prefer it because I can’t be a chairman, or a president for you. Most of the people who are you can’t be I can’t be a president of something. And then you double, double, double desk yourself. Because there are some things that need to be administrative specifically. And you have to handle administrative work. So for me, my role is on the technical side, and administrative work. So I find other people play, I identify other people play,
Michael Hingson ** 28:18
as they would say here, if you played it would be a conflict of interest, because then you’re the chair, you’re the chairman, the chair of the company, but you are playing for a team that is really kind of hard to separate. So that doesn’t work. Do you play for fun? Or what do you do for exercise and for fun than when you’re not being the chairman of the organization?
Jagwe Muzafaru ** 28:44
And yeah, I do I do run. I do run for a while. I do some other physical exercises. But there is no rule that refuses me to play football, but I do even play blind football, for fun. And I also play some football with some sighted person persons. But for blind football. I only play like if these an inclusive match. And they want us to play like CEOs. Like they want as we are demonstrating to chair chairman of companies there. Yeah, then I can come in. But but for for the exact matches, standard matches. No rule refuses me to play, but I really look at it as anyway, even in Uganda, I think I’m the only leader in sport who is who is not playing on the pitch most of them find themselves playing.
Michael Hingson ** 29:47
But I think you take a right position because it’s very difficult to be the chairman of the organization and then be on a particular team. It can be done difficult to sell. It’s I’m glad that you, you don’t know, when you’re playing the CEO with CEOs and you’re doing those kinds of fun matches. The real question is, do you win?
Jagwe Muzafaru ** 30:14
It’s it’s never about winning. It’s about just the giving the people the feel of what other Shapiro, what the, our, our our players go through, and giving them an understanding. Because for them, most of the CEOs, they can’t even play for five minutes. They can play in minutes. So
Michael Hingson ** 30:41
they don’t exercise that much.
Jagwe Muzafaru ** 30:44
residentially so you have to be linear to them as well.
Michael Hingson ** 30:49
Make them work, make them work. But what how do they react, though? Do they, when when they’re done? Do they go away with a different idea? Does it help teach them? Do they go away and decide to support what you’re doing, and they, they have a whole different picture than when they started?
Jagwe Muzafaru ** 31:15
Yeah, they are always interested. And they feel intrigued about how the game is played. And if they find it even more difficult to play it. And they always tell me that blind people are special people. And most of them always helped me and always want to come on board. And we have started a few relationships here and there with them work for free. For instance, we have started the a good few clubs. And they are willing to support a few of our activities. And also they invite us to the events, like we can demonstrate to more people to know about this boat. And that’s how we we are moving on one step at a time.
Michael Hingson ** 32:12
I must admit that. I don’t exercise enough to be able to play it. But I enjoy hearing about it. And I’ve I’ve not ever learned all the rules of football. I’ve learned more about us football than football in Europe and Africa and so on. But I do think it’s fascinating. I was in New Zealand and actually learned about rugby a little bit, which is which is a totally different thing and probably even more aggressive than playing either kind of football, but it’s still a there’s always strategy. And that’s what I’m fascinated about with sports, the strategies that that people have and that the teams work out. Yeah. So it makes it so it makes it makes it a lot of fun, which I think is important to do. So for you. You’ve now had this organization going what, four years, you started it in 2019 or 2018 rather.
Jagwe Muzafaru ** 33:21
Michael Hingson ** 33:22
2021 2021 So it’s only two years old. Okay. So what are what
Jagwe Muzafaru ** 33:30
was 17? I’m sorry, it was 17. June.
Michael Hingson ** 33:37
Okay. Oh, my gosh. So, two years. And right now, we’re recording this on June 22. So two years and five days Happy Birthday. Well, what are your plans for the organization? What are your plans for the organization going forward?
Jagwe Muzafaru ** 33:59
Yeah, first, for the plans, we have water. Bill continuing is expanding the game to all the more parts of the country so that more people can really get the chance to watch it and even play. So we are reaching more other places. Besides that, we are now rolling in more events for people to get the opportunity to participate fully in a spot. For the for status, we are going to include under age competition, and one of it is for primary schools next year. And from that we are going to also have a second School Championship. I believe if you’re in the US, that’s the High School Championship. So in Uganda we use secondary. So we are going to rule out as a secondary school championship and then even at at the latest If we want to have another another tournament, which we will be in for entire university, so universities will compete within themselves, and then our major product of the nationally will stay there. So those are the few things that we want to do in the competition side. But when you go to the technical side, we want to continue training more coaches, more people who can help us in the technical aspects, so that the every area has someone to, to coach, it’s a really tear, some and costly if we have, you have some someone has a team, and he wants to play, but it’s almost 200 kilometers from you. And you tell him come to this place where I am, which is very expensive, he comes and lands one day goes back goes. So it’s not really impacting. So you want to leave every area so that if somebody calls from any area, we just contacted him, we have a coordinator or a coach there, go to this person, it says question you. And we also now focusing on having more ladies on the team. Even today, I’ve been chatting with at least four ladies, and they are willing and today we have the new status sessions. And we shall be progressing and see how they will perform. Then administratively I want to is because we are housed on the Uganda Olympic committee we share the address, they just give us a small desk where we can be so I’m looking at also going independent, we get our own office is separate from any other body where anybody can freely come. If possible, if you get maybe land where someone can come I come there to lay around and also can do anything related to blind football activities there from there. So that’s that’s those are some of our plans.
Michael Hingson ** 37:15
Now, in general, not talking only about blind football specifically but are their professional teams teams where the players and everyone get Pele and get paid for doing what they do.
Jagwe Muzafaru ** 37:31
It’s only I believe it’s only in Europe and maybe okay, I don’t know about but in Europe it’s really very very, very active very active
Michael Hingson ** 37:42
out there yet.
Jagwe Muzafaru ** 37:45
Yeah, they have sponsors on board everything but for Ugandan setting, we only play specifically just for fun, and there is no payment that is involved
Michael Hingson ** 38:00
about the coordinators, the coaches
Jagwe Muzafaru ** 38:04
and I don’t pay anyone at the moment we don’t pay any. But for for first what we do is like I told you that we do some advocacy work. So we use bots to to serve a few things that players may not be having or may not be accurate with for example, if someone needs a white cane so we corroborate with the organization’s they get us the white cans for free if someone is needed agree with a puzzle coordinate with an organization’s that you have within the blind community. And then we try to source some of the materials for them as as part of their sports aspects. Yes. And also we advocate and try to give them a few learning tips like on financial literacy, how can you start something you initial blind? How can you so we just share but we collaborate with a few organizations. Yeah. And then we try to do it.
Michael Hingson ** 39:06
About expenses like you talked about if somebody has to go a long ways to to get to be able to play is there any help to assist with expenses and so on for them?
Jagwe Muzafaru ** 39:21
Yeah, for for our competitions, like if we organize an event, like we organize an event on 14th October always invite players from all over the country. So for us we’ll get in the transportation and accommodation and feeding. So everybody who comes give them transport, accommodation and feeding. But for allowances like refunds on transport we don’t normally give them. We help them in that way. And also have collaborations with a few led organizations that, that help us to in fundraising, for resources that we use, like water, feeding, and then we end up executing settings. So
Michael Hingson ** 40:20
how do you actually promote the organization? How do you make it known that you that you need money? Or what the organization does? How much? Are you able to talk about it and get people to take an interest? How do you promote it?
Jagwe Muzafaru ** 40:38
I promoted firstly, with social media, through social media platforms, on our own social media platforms, on all social media platforms, then also on radio, TV and print. So in some instances, like when we have an event, just like we have one, in October, we start to visit Organized TV stations, radio stations, and then they give us time. And as soon as they were granted permission to be on air, it’s when they sell, I will promote, and I’ve got the chance to be on several interviews, and booked about this spot and leaving the organization. Even in the US, I’ve been with the CNN, I’ve been with the Voice of America. I’ve been with the Al Jazeera, and they’ll be in a week black excellence. So those are the media outlets that and work for the US. Organizations have never reached out to them. They just saw the work we do on social media. And then they came and interviewed us. But for our our Ugandan settings, even some of them, like 80% of them have not contacted them directly that I want at a time, or I want some publish about this. It’s them have come out and come to me. And so is love enabled to promote the sport. Yeah, it’s unfortunate that myself, I’ve never seen myself live on air. And even when some some of the recordings are taken, they just find me either moving or people just don’t always say on TV. And I asked them when not remember, because nobody will tell you that just published. Suggested recordings of the interviews. I do. Yeah.
Michael Hingson ** 42:37
Have you ever looked on YouTube to see if any of them are there? So you can watch them?
Jagwe Muzafaru ** 42:43
Yeah, I guess follow up afterwards. Yeah. They’re always they watch them? And yeah, I see them.
Michael Hingson ** 42:51
Yeah, the fact is with television, a lot of times you just don’t know exactly when it’s going to air and like when I’ve been interviewed, I’ll ask people when it will appear. And it can be on a newscast. But it could be anywhere within an hour or half hour newscast. And unless you have the time to watch the entire newscast, you don’t always see it. So it’s kind of one of the things that you have to deal with. Well, so you know, but it’s kind of more important. Well, it’s important that you get to see it so you can evaluate how you’re doing and get a chance to listen and think about how you might do it better, which would be a reason for doing it. But it is more important that other people get to see you and and I’m sure that if somebody had some great thought for you, they would tell you about it. But you know, one of the questions that comes to mind is that the Para Olympics is coming up next August of when a year in Paris. Are you looking to try to to go there? And is there any kind of blind football matches in the Paralympics? Yeah.
Jagwe Muzafaru ** 44:03
And what I have to first inform you is blind football as a sport is the only football currently in the Olympics Games is the only football that is there. So next year, yeah, it’s going to be it’s going to feature but as per the qualification window, I think we are very late for it. We woke up late. And to the west, we first have to be members of the international body and then we start to play sanction games. And by May it’s when I first applied to the first regiments. It’s when I first applied to the organ to the to the the national body to be for membership and there are some things they still requested, which I’m working on. One of them is the anti doping rules. For our country, because we have to come up with a code that we shall also be following. So we are working on it close with a few patronizing spots to see that we have it done. So for next year, we shall not feature in. We have not been Paris as blind football, Uganda. But we are in for 2028, which will be staged for Los Angeles, Angeles, I believe next year if yes, ingredient eight. So I believe next year, if everything is sorted, within the international body, we are going to start to play international sanction games and we shall see how we shall fight to qualify for 28. Yeah.
Michael Hingson ** 45:49
And some of your players play for other countries next year? Or do you see that even as a possibility?
Jagwe Muzafaru ** 45:56
I have no problem with it personally, if a country approaches them, and you would like to, because for us, we are not, most of my prayers are not yet registered in a country that are based on international database. So if any country approaches us, or any country or someone approaches the country, individually, it’s okay. For us, we are open to give them that opportunity so that they can venture and seize. We spots sports can help them to see how their legs contain.
Michael Hingson ** 46:37
What kinds of challenges do people who are blind or low vision face and going into sports, say in Uganda, like blind football or other things are, are there efforts to encourage that or do families and people still really say, well, blind people can’t do that, and so they discourage it.
Jagwe Muzafaru ** 46:59
Ah, it all ends with our participation, as as long as people are seeing plain, people easily understand that these guys can play. And whenever they see them on pitch, they always understand that I was scared to tell my child to go play because I thought they can collide. But when they see themselves on the pitch without any collusion, so people just encourage them to keep playing. So it’s the mindset, which prevents them, but what if you’re the challenges one of them is the accessibility it comes to the road, it comes to the technology, it comes even in communication. So, most of our people are known, when it comes to moving to the fields, they are not so visually impaired friendly, most of the fields we have even when it comes to playing, they are not visually impaired, or friendly moving in playing around or even just walking around them, you can find one peach is shared by almost four teams of sighted people. So when it comes to playing, you know, our game is a silent game. So, it always disturbs us in the training and you have to fight for the spaces. Another thing can be on the aspect to the finances, there is a lot of expectation because I if somebody sees you on TV, somebody hears you on radio, and there was CZ on international channels. So so someone comes, may reach out to you like on Facebook or, or email and say I want to be part of blind football Uganda, how can I can how can you involve me? So most of the people work with come with a high expectation of money because of a huge publicity we have. I had to devise the end up when we talk to them, we end up finding that we can’t we can like work with them because of the aspect. You can’t pay them at the moment. Yeah, if someone can be can you be a volunteer? It says I’m past volunteering. Legit. Some of us are volunteer. This was for over ever since we started like professional careers. Yeah, those are issue challenges.
Michael Hingson ** 49:43
It’s an it’s a new sport. Really. It’s it’s not been around long. And it is a process and a lot of times I can imagine people are impatient and when they they need to understand that it’s new and it’s a and sometimes it’s a rare A person who will take the step back and say, Okay, I’ll help try to make it better. And maybe someday there’ll be money to pay. But it isn’t all about money. As you said, the players are also playing for fun, which I think is really important and really pretty cool. So I’m glad that people do play it for fun. And so far that’s working. And you’ll grow. I mean, it will, it will continue to grow, and there’ll be more substance later. So what can people do to help support what you do? And what kind of message do you want those people who listen to unstoppable mindset to hear?
Jagwe Muzafaru ** 50:45
First that as, as blind football, we are challenged with the equipment side. So to get the equipment that we used to play in Uganda, and Africa at large, it’s a little bit had an expensive, so work with. Yeah, so I began a fundraiser. It’s on GoFundMe, we are only soliciting for only to buy standard equipments from eyeshades from the bulls. Even make our own boards that we use on the pitch, everything that you may understand that is used in soccer, we need support for it, because as I’ve told you have a teams spread over every region. So our fight is to have more and more teams, more teams with equipment supplied to them. So that’s our fight. So if someone wants to help us in one way or the other, we can go to GoFundMe look for look for blend football. And then they can cast any donation. And I can assure you that the money goes to the right cause already we have like 700 700 euros that have been so far donated to us. And we are moving anyway, we are moving. But more so if someone needs Oh, is willing, who can be willing to come to Uganda Oh, it can come as a by the way, you somebody’s coming to Uganda, then they come and give us just the knowledge of bland food. Because I’ve I’ve never been of all the people I work with even me, we have never got that knowledge of how to play standard out, like the standard training. We have never got that knowledge, we use YouTube tutorials, and even the internet. So we read, research, and then use it but we have never got like, experience knowledge with a professional. So if someone is willing to come to Uganda, just to give us some little knowledge about the game, how we can improve here and there and give us tips on how we can play then we also invite you to do Uganda.
Michael Hingson ** 53:16
Well, okay, so tell me how people can reach out to you and learn and contact you and learn more about the program and so on. If you would spell your first and last name and then tell us how they can reach out to you. I would appreciate that.
Jagwe Muzafaru ** 53:34
My name is Jagwe Muzafaru, and if you want to reach out to
Michael Hingson ** 53:39
do if you could spell if you could stop. Can you spell that please?
Jagwe Muzafaru ** 53:43
Yes, my name is Jagwe Muzafaru and Jagwe is spelled as J A G W E Jagwe and Muzafaru is spelled M U Z A F A R U. And you can reach out to me directly on all social media platforms, specifically Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and even Instagram. And you can you can also reach out to our social media platforms, which run under the name blind football Uganda, blind football Uganda say you can reach out email. Even if I’m not the one who responds, someone will respond. And if you direct one to talk to me, someone will direct you to and then you can have an opportunity to chat with me or the team more so if you want to watch some of our works, you can go to YouTube and on YouTube we use blind football Uganda is where we post some of the videos of our work. So you can go there and watch a few of our activities that we are doing in Uganda.
Michael Hingson ** 54:56
So blind football Uganda is had a website
Jagwe Muzafaru ** 54:59
not yet we are working on that don’t have as for now.
Michael Hingson ** 55:05
Well, I know that you’re, you’re working on it.
Jagwe Muzafaru ** 55:09
Yeah, but we are all we are on all social media platforms Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, just typing blind football, Uganda. Yeah. Okay. And then your computer
Michael Hingson ** 55:24
as well, I know, I met you through Sheldon Lewis at accessiBe. And so I hope that when you get a website, you’ll use accessiBe to make sure that it is accessible for everyone to be able to use. And we’re all ready to help in any way that we can to, to assist with that. And so keep working with Sheldon, but if any of us can help them, we’re glad to do that. But I want to thank you once again for being here. This has been fun. And I think very interesting. And we’re anxious to hear more about how things go with blind football Uganda as you continue to progress. So you’ll have to come back and tell us more later. When for you listening. I hope that you enjoyed this, please, please reach out to us. I’d love to hear from you. You can reach me at Michaelhi at accessiBe.com. That’s M I C H A E L H I at accessiBe A C C E S S I B E.com. Or you can go to our podcast page www dot Michael hingson.com/podcast. And Michael hingson is m i c h a e l h i n g s o n.com. And so I hope that you will come comment on what we have talked about today. And I hope that you’ll give us a five star rating. Wherever you’re listening to this, please give us a five star rating. We appreciate your your ratings very much and we’d love to hear your comments. And of course, as always, if you can think of anyone else that you believe that we ought to have as a guest on unstoppable mindset, unstoppable mindset, please let us know. And Jagwe that’s the same for you if you know anyone that we ought to have as a guest. I would appreciate you telling us about it. But I want to thank you one more time for being here and for talking with us today. So thanks very much. This has been fun. I hope you’ve enjoyed it as well. Thank you
**Michael Hingson ** 57:31
You have been listening to the Unstoppable Mindset podcast. Thanks for dropping by. I hope that you’ll join us again next week, and in future weeks for upcoming episodes. To subscribe to our podcast and to learn about upcoming episodes, please visit www dot Michael hingson.com slash podcast. Michael Hingson is spelled m i c h a e l h i n g s o n. While you’re on the site., please use the form there to recommend people who we ought to interview in upcoming editions of the show. And also, we ask you and urge you to invite your friends to join us in the future. If you know of any one or any organization needing a speaker for an event, please email me at speaker at Michael hingson.com. I appreciate it very much. To learn more about the concept of blinded by fear, please visit www dot Michael hingson.com forward slash blinded by fear and while you’re there, feel free to pick up a copy of my free eBook entitled blinded by fear. The unstoppable mindset podcast is provided by access cast an initiative of accessiBe and is sponsored by accessiBe. Please visit www.accessibe.com. accessiBe is spelled a c c e s s i b e. There you can learn all about how you can make your website inclusive for all persons with disabilities and how you can help make the internet fully inclusive by 2025. Thanks again for listening. Please come back and visit us again next week.