Special Olympics: Bharat fail to make the cut for the Fifa Unified World Cup in Brazil

Team Bharat failed to make the cut for the Fifa Unified World Cup after being fourth in the Asia-Pacific qualifiers in Bangkok...

The Bharat team returned empty handed from Thailand as they failed in their bid to qualify for the Fifa Unified World Cup in Brazil with 31 other teams. The Asia Pacific Qualifiers had eight teams jousting for two spots and the Bharat team could only finish fourth.

India defeated Singapore 3-1, Malaysia 2-0 and Indonesia 1-0, which enabled them to top their group and qualify for the last four. However they stumbled in the semi-finals being beaten by Bangladesh with a solitary penalty being the difference.

In the dead rubber which was against Malaysia for the 3rd/4th place, they ended up losing 1-0.

Hosts Thailand were crowned champions after overcoming Bangladesh on penalties in the final. The two finalists qualified for the Special Olympics Global Unified Cup in Rio, while the third place team will have to play a play-off match with the runners-up of the East-Asia zone.

The Fifa Unified World Cup is an initiative by Fifa to combine both 'special' players (players with intellectual disabilities) as well as 'partners' (players who did not have intellectual disabilities). In order to not being disqualified, the partners had to involve the special players in all the build up play as well as moves. 

The India contingent included nine special players and seven partners. In order to make it truly competitive top players were roped in with the likes of Subrata Paul, Climax Lawrence, Matthew Gonsalves and Dawson Fernandes being a part of the squad. Besides the four I-League players, Quizar Mohammed (Andhra Pradesh), Nizar Ahmad Basheer (Tamil Nadu) and Niroshan Mani (Karnataka) were also present to play the role of a 'partner'.