Ghana’s senior national side the Rolling Rockets beat their Nigerian counterparts (Kanu Pillars) in a 5-goal thriller to win the first ever International Unity Skate Soccer Cup which came off at the Black Star Square last Sunday, March 19.
The event was partly sponsored by B5 Plus, the leading steel importer, manufacturer and distributor in Ghana.
Put together by the International Federation of Skate Soccer (IFSS), with Binatone as headline sponsor, the afternoon produced a truly thrilling game and an exciting atmosphere as both teams displayed breathtaking skills and control. This caused constant cheers from the teeming spectators gathered at the venue.
Superior tactical ethic from the Nigerian side, especially from frontman Sas (who was also crowned the Most Valuable Player at the end of the tournament), forced the Ghanaian team to conduct early substitutions in a quest to balance the game.
The changes worked as, soon after, one of the substitutes, Osman, broke the deadlock for Ghana. Much of the first half saw domination from the Nigerian side, consisting of several near-misses from Sas, and colleague Danjum. This was rewarded towards the end of the first half – Danjum converted a brilliant pass from Sas to make the score level.
The second half saw a much more balanced contest. Captain Gariba, who was the Ghanaian side’s brightest star of the day, registered Ghana’s second goal. Ghana scored an additional goal, before the Pillars pulled one back as consolation.
For their prize, the Rockets took home a glistening trophy, a GH¢ 10,000 cash prize, as well an assortment of other prizes from other sponsors: B5 Plus, Nankani Electronic Image Ltd., GOtv, Jumia, Melcom, East Cantoments Pharmacy Ltd., IFSS, Pharmanova, Holy Insecticide.
The match was attended by key dignitaries and stakeholders, including representation from the Ministry of Youth and Sports, who expressed gratitude to the organizers and sponsors, welcomed occasions as this, which strengthen ties between Ghana and Nigeria.
Mr Owusu Ansah, who spoke on behalf of the Minister, assured of support for the development of the game.
Also present to cover the landmark event were international media outfits such as CNN, BBC, Super Sport among others.
In Ghana, and indeed, across the continent, there are very few opportunities for persons with disabilities because much of government and society’s structure are hardly favourable. This usually leaves them with one option: begging for alms on the streets. This initiative by the IFSS, Binatone, and its associates, is therefore very important as it presents a more dignified way for them to earn a living and display their talents. Organizers expressed their intention of making skate soccer a global phenomenon, thereby giving others across the world, similar opportunities.
Skate soccer could soon become a popular sport worldwide, judging by the enthusiasm generated by this edition. Close by at the Accra Sports Stadium, archrivals and two of the nation’s biggest clubs: Accra Hearts of Oak and Kumasi Asante Kotoko were engaged in one of the most anticipated clashes of the year, yet, patronage at the Skate Soccer Cup was hardly affected, as supporters obviously had just as much fun, roaring in excitement and shock at the sheer display of ingenuity on the bright green court.
The award for Best Goalkeeper went to Ghana’s Mensah Bilal. Gariba was recognized as the Goal King of the tournament. Nigeria also picked up laurels for Best Defender (Awuta Umar), as well as the Most Valuable Player (Sas).