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An Unusual Sport: Fireball Soccer

Chris Bedolla

More stories from Chris Bedolla

The Return: Part 3?
February 28, 2015

This game isn't a normal game of soccer.

Indonesian+students+playing+Sepak+Bola+Api.
Indonesian students playing Sepak Bola Api.

Indonesian students playing Sepak Bola Api.

Photo from news.softpedia.com

Photo from news.softpedia.com

Indonesian students playing Sepak Bola Api.

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Many students in Indonesia play a very unique game: Sepak Bola Api, or fireball soccer. They play this particular game to welcome the month of Ramadan.

Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar; the month the Quran (revelation of god to muslims) was revealed. This month is celebrated by fasting and extra prayers. Each day will have a different event and represent a historical piece.

Another reason why students play this game is to test their courage. This specific sport is mainly celebrated in Bogor, Yogyakarta, Tasikmalaya and Papua regions of Indonesia.

There are many rituals and preparations they do to prepare for the game.

Players must make the ball out of a coconut from a palm tree and soak it in kerosene. The coconut must be lit and the player is covered in non-flammable salt and spices. Prayer is a significant part of the game, but the main thing is to play the game with bare feet. The Indonesians believe playing barefoot trains their spirit, which means partaking in a special ritual they believe makes them “impervious” to fire. Once they start and go over the rules and rituals, supposedly the players will no longer be afraid of fire and will play the game with out hesitation.

To learn more about Fireball Soccer click here.

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An Unusual Sport: Fireball Soccer