Nigeria Sport: Yoruba girl learns to roller-skate with Skate Gangs of Lagos! - YouTube
Football is the most popular sport in Nigeria but there’s a new challenger now competing for the hearts, minds and feet of young Nigerians – roller-skating!
“I think I’m shaking! Don’t leave me!” shouts Odunayo, our own correspondent who rushes from church to meet them at the National stadium, Surulere – to learn to skate.
There are numerous roller-skating clubs – or gangs – across Nigeria with names such as Wonderous Move Skaters’ Club, Extreme Wheels Club or Young Quality International Skaters Club.
They perform a variety of twists, turns and stunts – and are most commonly seen as they hold onto Danfo buses, okadas and other automobiles to travel in Lagos.
“I saw them skating and I liked it and joined them,” says Michale who has been skating for two years. “We skate outside when its necessary – when we do roadwork to train… but I have not had an accident, I don’t do thinks that cause accident.”
The different clubs meet at Surulere to train at least once a week (normally on a Sunday):
“Skating is a profession and a special sports,” says Donald Ogbukeze, a coach for one of Nigeria’s roller-skating clubs. “So many people skate because they don’t like to go into football, boxing, karate or other crazy sports – so skating is a free sport with general exercise.”
But it’s not all sports and training, as the skaters have found a practical use for their roller-skates – by being paid for corporate promotions, such as handing out flyers, etc on the streets of Lagos.