The Blind Football Coach

Social Objective:

I'm blind. But I have vision.

Dumisani Ntombela has never seen a football stadium. But he coached a women’s soccer team to the Premier League. Then he lost his funding, and his team.

He wants to get them back on the field. 

Dumisani's Story

When Dumisani was two years old, both his eyes were removed and covered with skin grafts. He was beaten, demonized and called a ghost (“Spoko”). But that didn’t stop him. He has no memory of seeing colour, faces, a football pitch or a football. But that didn’t stop him.

He wanted to show the world that blindness isn’t a disability; it’s a different ability. He realized that he had a gift: not only for visualizing and understanding football, but for fighting discrimination and suffering. That got him going.

As a young boy he used this gift to triumph against the rejection of his community. He became ‘the blind boy with a football vision’.

At 24, he is now a record-breaking coach who took a women’s football team, ‘The Silver Spears’, to the South African Premier League, competing against the country’s best and wealthiest sides.

But running a Premier League football team is expensive. Running it on a self-funded budget proved impossible. Dumisani never found solid sponsorship. He used his disability grant and his parents’ pension to keep his team on the field. But he lost his parents, and then his team. You can help Dumisani get his team back on the field.

Though Dumisani can’t see things most of us can, he sees further than most of us do.

His vision isn’t merely to power the team back to the Premier League, but to empower the women in it to have a better future. To teach not just football, but self-respect. To develop his team not only as players, but as people.

Like Relate, he sees the potential to be an agent of social change, to make a difference and improve lives.

“My world is not dark. My world is light.” Dumisani Ntombela

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