Skate Soccer Uplifts Spirits of the Handicapped
In West Africa, a new form of football is gaining widespread popularity. The game is called "skate soccer", or "rollaball" and it targets men with physical disabilities, giving them an opportunity to play the beautiful sport in a version that is fit for them.
The rules are similar to those of soccer but the game is played with the hands as the players roll at ground level, sitting with their legs bent on a skateboard. Players are not allowed to hold the ball with their hands and must hit the ball with an open palm. Skate soccer includes traditional rules such as the offside and fouls.
Skate soccer was created in Nigeria but has now spread all over West Africa. The game has become so popular in Ghana that it already counts with an organized league in Accra. Every Sunday, men gather in downtown Accra on their handmade skateboards to play the sport in an empty taxi lot, using chalk to draw the field on the hot concrete and setting up a pair of stones on each side as goals.
Beyond competition, skate soccer offers physically challenged men an opportunity for recreation, exercise and inspiration. One of the goals of the project is to keep physically challenged men from begging on the street, turn them into urban athletes and show them their limitless capabilities. Soccer is an inspiration to many but skate soccer has been a blessing for the physically challenged, who now count with their own version of the beautiful sport.
One of the participants of this innovative sport had just the right words to describe what the game means for the physically challenged: "Skate soccer makes us feel great about ourselves... we are happier about who we are." The project has the ambition of establishing a league in Ghana, creating a league all around Africa, with the final goal of converting skate soccer into a global phenomenon.
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