In Accra, A few hands find hope in despair.
On a sunny Sunday afternoon in the Ghanaian capital, Accra, something almost painful yet magical and beautiful is taking place.
One after the other, they come out of their places of abode, not the kind fit for kings and queens, but those of very harsh conditions. They are ready for the day’s work on the field.
Disabled men, mostly in their late twenties and thirties, and numbering a little over a dozen engage each other in what has been craftily coined Skate Football.
skate football is a combination of riding a skateboard and playing football.
The game originated in Nigeria and has since spread across the entire African continent. The majority of its exponents are polio sufferers determined not to give up playing their beloved sport.
The game is yet to gain nationwide prominence in Ghana but one man is pushing a recognition or die agenda that has so far caught on.
Every other Sunday and for the past eight years, Albert Frimpong assembles these polio-disabled footballers to train and get ready for assignments.
“ Using this sport, we have gradually put in their minds that the street is not the ultimate. You will make some money but you can lose your life on any day, at anytime. We have gotten them to agree and now they want to work; they don’t want to beg but until we get them jobs to do, they will continue to be on the street. But 60 percent of their mindset is off the street now,” Albert Frimpong said.
Frimpong has had to do this with very little help and relies on his drive to see them go off the streets, where they beg for alms all week, onto their make shift football pitch, located in the Central Business District.
“Ultimately we will have an African cup of nations in Ghana which will be made up of some west African countries. This will be the first of its kind anywhere in the world,” he added.
Ameenu Yaro popularly known by colleagues as ‘Smallie’ is a proud team member of these bright yet barely attended to para-athletes.
“ I came to Ghana from Niger; i saw my brothers here playing the skate football and it motivated me to play the sport and its been 8 years and i have never looked back. We need someone to help us work so we stop begging on the streets; we don’t like it,” Ameenu Yaro said.
With hope still a luxury, these athletes are yet to give up on themselves and a bigger desire to get the needed support.
Until then, they have had to rely on the mercy of individuals and corporate institutions.