Author: Jean

Blind footballer Siku is trying to raise the profile of blind people in Uganda

Blind footballer Siku is trying to raise the profile of blind people in Uganda

Meet the man who introduced blind football to Uganda.

Blind football is just the name, he says, for a sport in which players do not see one another.

Uganda is one of only a very few countries in the world where blind football is practiced.

Siku has been blind since birth.

‘There are no other sports in which blind people play’.

He lost his sight early in life – at 2 months – and spent six years in boarding school where he learnt the game of football.

He also had a passion for music, which was not an option.

“I was playing football because of fear and the teachers used to tell my mum I was not good at it,” Siku told

“I was never in the team, but I was not left out.

“I was one of the best and the best, my teacher used to tell my mum that I could play as a striker.

“I think the fear helped me.”

Blind football was brought to Uganda in 1984 by a team of sighted footballers (right) led by a blind man, John Siku (centre). They were sponsored by the NACAD Foundation to spread the game around the country.

The game is played with an artificial ball made out of rubber and leather, but without any visible parts to the player.

Siku has never lost his touch on the pitch.

For all the success he has enjoyed, Siku has come up against serious challenges.

He says his team has found it hard to pay the rent.

Most blind people are still living in poverty, says Siku, who is one of about 200 blind people in Uganda. He is trying to raise the profile of blind people, even though he is often met with jokes.

“It’s a tough job because they just laugh at you,” he said.

“You see some people who are blind, but don’t have a clue.

“I got a message from someone and he said: “Oh, he is a blind footballer”, which I just laughed, because I am not a footballer.

“I can play with my eyes closed but I can’t

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