Skate soccer has taken hold in parts of West Africa, but a new documentary, Rollaball, is in the works that aims to elevate the sport and its participants to paralympic status.
Skate soccer is a fast and physical team sport which combines soccer, skating and handball. It is played by people with physical disabilities, who roll around the field (a concrete surface) on homemade skateboards, trying to put the ball in the back of the net. Like soccer, the team that does not have the ball will do whatever it takes to prevent that from happening.
Competitions are already being held at both club and international levels.
“The first game of skate soccer was in Lagos, Nigeria, but it’s now spread throughout West Africa,” Albert K. Frimpong, coach of The Rolling Rockets, said. “We played our first international game recently against Nigeria and are hoping to host an Africa Cup of Nations next year.”
Rollaball tells the story of the Rolling Rockets — a team of Ghanaian polio survivors — who find a new sense of purpose and dignity playing the sport. During the games, these skate soccer pioneers become sports heroes in their communities, despite living with the stigmas of polio and homelessness.
Rollaball director Eddie Edwards spoke about the everyday challenges skate soccer players face. He hopes the movie will help them improve their lives, according to a press release.
“When I first met the team two years ago, I knew they were something special,” Edwards said. “These guys face massive challenges off the pitch, as polio is still stigmatized in Ghana, so many of them live on the streets and beg for a living. But despite all the odds, they’re incredible athletes who deserve to be stars. They have inspired something in me and I believe they’ll inspire many others. Both on and off the field, their stories are legendary.”
Producers are currently crowdsourcing funding to help complete the documentary project, and a 30-day campaign is under way on Kickstarter.
Watch the trailer for Rollaball in the video below.
Photo via Twitter/@AfriPerspects