Mini4EU is not just about playing minifootball, but also about the love for sports and for amateur sports, about health, about leisure, about community and about inclusion. Today marked the end of the European Miniftooball Federation’s first ever Challenged Cup - a tournament specifically organised for mentally handicapped players and their teams.
“We enjoy all the categories here [at the Mini4EU Festival] because they are fantastic and minifootball is full of passion and emotions, but these two days are very special. The vibes, the energy, the emotions on the pitch are positive, the main aim of these guys is to enjoy the sport. And this is how it should be” - said Jakub Štefek, EMF’s Tournament Coordinator.
“In Israel not everyone knows the difference between the Paralympics and the Special Olympics. What EMF is doing here in this tournament, in these few days for the mentally challenged is super important for me” - said Gon Tzuri, sport manager of the Israeli Special Olympics Team and of participant team Hadera. “You make them feel normal, because they deserve it, and it is our responsibility I believe.”
“We had a very beautiful day with the mentally challenged and the kids from the kindergartens. I think it’s very important to organise tournaments like this for the mentally challenged people, because they are very valuable people who have a lot of love and a lot of joy” - said Lajos Nagy, coach of the Hungarian national minifootball team.
During the day Lajos Nagy had a chance to train with local kindergartners who were organised their very own mini-minifootball tournament in the morning, and he also held a training session for the football-enthusiastic visitors from Frim Jakab KSZO - a local skill-development home providing day-care and residential care for moderately and severely mentally handicapped people.
“On top level, we have a lot of stress. But with kids and with mentally handicapped players, we don’t have that. Because it’s not a job with them, it’s entertainment. It was real fun” - he added.