Taking Skate Soccer from the streets to the screen: Extreme Disability Sport

Eddie Edwards, director of Rollaball - a documentary-in-the-making that follows Ghana’s Skate Soccer team The Rolling Rockets - speaks about the vision behind the film, what Skate Soccer means to the players, and what it could mean across the world.
The Rolling Rockets relax after their Sunday skate soccer game. (L-R) Saviola, Tupac, Albert (coach), No Fear, Jamiu , Rasta, Smallee

The game is not new; the first recorded Skate Soccer game was back in 1988 in Lagos, Nigeria, but it remains widely unknown. Essentially an extreme form of the world’s favourite game, Skate Soccer is a special sport with enormous appeal that could potentially open up opportunities for people all over the world.

“Through the film, we intend to raise the profile of the sport Skate Soccer to a level where the players can earn a living from the sport and raise money for small scale businesses so they don’t have to beg on the streets and will benefit from the game when they are no longer able to play,” Eddie says.

“If the profile of the game is raised, the general perception of this group of people who are marginalised by their disability will be raised. The public will see that the players are doing something to rise above their situation thus breaking down the stigma of being disabled.”

Rollaball follows the story of The Rolling Rockets, a team of Ghanaian polio survivors coached by Albert Frimpong, executive director of SYDO (Sports & Youth Development Organisation) Ghana. Albert is an experienced sports administrator and conducts other sports programmes through SYDO. To date, the team has played two international games; one in Ghana and one in Nigeria.



“As far as I know, the game is played exclusively in West Africa,” explains Eddie. “It is most popular in Nigeria and Ghana. There are also players in Niger, Ivory Coast, Mali, Benin, Togo, and Burkina Faso. Every Sunday, the players get the chance to work out their frustrations on the field. They get to be heroes for an hour or so and the exercise keeps them fit and healthy both physically and mentally.”

In Ghana and Nigeria, Skate Soccer is registered with the department of sport. “There are structures in place to build on,” Eddie says. But, “the film will put Skate Soccer under the spotlight and will attract potential funding from the corporate sector in terms of sponsorship and both local and international NGOs in terms of infrastructure and grant funding.”

“The film will inspire those in other countries to take up the sport”, Eddie says. “The sport could be implemented almost anywhere and is not limited to polio survivors.”

“Skate Soccer is a unique and dynamic way of playing the beautiful game. Programmes can be easily implemented as expensive and complicated equipment is not necessary."

"Skate Soccer is a sport for the people.”

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