Almost blind player scores penalty in Swedish league
Andreas Engstrom is a hero in Sweden after he came on to score a spot kick despite having just one per cent sight.
The comings and goings in the Swedish sixth division wouldn’t normally get much coverage in Sweden, never mind further afield but a brilliant story in today’s Guardian means we have to make an exception.
It concerns a guy called Andreas Engstrom, who is a member of a team called Ulvsby IF. Six years ago, while he was a player with the club, Engstrom noticed his sight was getting worse and worse. A trip to the doctor confirmed he had a hereditary illness called Leber’s Disease. Within two months of that diagnosis, he had lost most of his sight. Now, all he has is one per cent.
Engstrom had to stop playing but remained at the club, working in various capacities but the club planned to get him on to try and score a late penalty, if the right circumstances arose.
And against a team called Backhammar recently, the stars aligned. Ulvsby were leading 5-0 when the ref pointed to the spot. Engstrom was sent on to have a pop, but he was understandably nervous.
"As always we were struggling for players," he told local paper NWT. "So I put myself as a substitute and the lads promised that they would get a penalty and that I would take it. In the middle of the second half one of the players [Johan Hansen] came to me and said he'd got a penalty. 'Get the shirt on and take it,' he told me.
"I got really nervous. One of the guys put the ball on the penalty spot but I went up and touched the ball to know exactly where it was. I could, somewhere, see a little bit of the posts and I aimed for the right post. The feeling was that I missed and that it went straight on, but then I heard the lads cheer."
The Guardian piece quotes the beaten keeper, Mattias Frisell, who says he didn’t know about Engstrom was blind.
"If I'd known I would have gone up and given him a pat and the shoulder and said: 'Well done.'" He admitted, though he reckoned he would get some stick for conceding a goal to player who could not see.
For video of Andreas's pretty solid penalty, just click here. Definitely our hero of the week, and it is only Monday.