By David Gold

goalballDecember 27 -  Russia's visually-impaired footballers have bemoaned the lack of funding available as they look to move on and progress following their failure to qualify for London 2012.

A defeat on a coin toss to Turkey, after their quarter-final finished goalless in the European Championships in September, meant Russia missed out on London.

The women fared better, losing 4-3 in the final to Denmark, but Russia's male goalball stars are determined to learn from the experience.

"We all knew that it would be hard to qualify for the London Paralympics," said Russia's Sergey Manzhos, a member of the squad.

"Who knows what would have happened if we reached the semi-finals.

"But they decided to throw a coin after our draw with Turkey instead of a penalty shootout which is not very sportsmanlike.

"So it's a pity."

Another player, Vyacheslav Zhiltsov, explained that the lack of support from the authorities has held them back, saying that they had to pay to get to their last training camp in Sochi.

"Sometimes we have to pitch in for uniforms and even some of our trips to competitions, like the latest Presidents Cup," he said.

The coach Nikolay Beregovoy believes his team are capable of competing with the world's best, but echoes Zhiltsov's frustration over funding.

"After my team defeated world runners-up Spain at a domestic international tournament and continued on beating the likes of England and Germany over in Greece, financing was suddenly cut and the team was inactive from October until May," he said.

"So our Paralympic dreams were futile from the beginning."

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