Cape Verde becomes first African country to name stadium after Pele

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Cape Verde has become the first African country to name a stadium after Pele following a request by Fifa president Gianni Infantino.
  • The island nation will honour Pele by naming a stadium after him
  • Cape Verde will rename their national stadium to ‘Pele Stadium’
  • Fifa head Gianna Infantino requested every country name a stadium after Brazil great

WHAT HAPPENED? The Prime Minister of the island nation Ulisses Correira e Silva said they would honour the legendary footballer by renaming their national stadium, Estadio da Varzea, to Pele Stadium, before noting Brazil and Cape Verde had a history and a culture that “go hand in hand and by language and very similar identities”. Cape Verde, like Brazil, speaks Portuguese.

The decision comes just days after Infantino called on every country to honour the three-time World Cup winner, who died aged 82 on December 29, by naming a stadium after him.

WHAT DID THEY SAY? “Pele was and will always be a reference in Brazil, in our Portuguese-speaking world and in the rest of the world, being an idol that connects several generations,” said Cape Verde Prime Minister Ulisses Correia e Silva in a statement released on his official Facebook page.

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”As a tribute and recognition to this figure who makes us all great, I manifest the intention (of the Government) to name our national stadium as ‘Pele Stadium’ in an initiative to which, I believe, several countries around the world will accompany us.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Infantino’s request divided opinion across the world with some agreeing with him while others against his wish.

Pele is the only man in football history to win the World Cup three times, having won it in 1958, 1962 and 1970.

The former Santos and New York Cosmos star also scored over 1,000 goals in a phenomenal career that saw him win numerous titles while becoming a household name.

WHAT’S NEXT? It will be interesting to see which other countries follow Cape Verde’s lead in naming a stadium after Pele.