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South Africa

Renaming stadium after Pele? Safa president Jordan suggests why it would be 'tricky'

4:30 PM MYT 04/01/2023
Danny Jordaan, Safa, October 2022
South African Football Association president Danny Jordaan explained why renaming a stadium in Pele's memory would be a challenge in South Africa.
  • Safa supports the idea of honouring the football icon
  • Jordaan indicated that there is a stadium ownership issue in SA
  • Safa awaiting full details from Fifa regarding the initiative

WHAT HAPPENED? Fifa president Gianni Infantino recently proposed that countries name one of their stadiums in memory of football icon Pele who was buried on Tuesday after passing away at the age of 82.
The Italian football administrator was in the Brazilian city of Santos where he was paying his final respects to Pele, who is widely considered the greatest of all time having won a record three Fifa World Cups.
Jordaan pointed out that Safa is open to the idea of honouring the legend, but he stated that it would be a bit tricky to have a stadium named after Pele in South Africa.

WHAT DID JORDAAN SAY?: “Here in SA it’s unlike most teams in the world where stadiums are owned by teams themselves like Nou Camp and Santiago Bernabeu are owned by Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively," Jordaan told Sowetan.

"Stadium ownership is an issue in SA … it is something we need to discuss as well because other stadiums are generating income through their commercial names. 

“We will have to wait and see what he [Infantino] is proposing because... I mean Pele was very supportive of us as SA. What’s best, for now, is to wait for Fifa’s full proposal and then we will have to discuss it," he explained.

"The tricky thing in SA is that stadiums are owned by different entities, including local governments, so a lot of people need to be consulted if this is to be a reality in this country.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: The former Santos and New York Cosmos superstar supported the 2010 Fifa World Cup in South Africa and he was in the country during the global showpiece.
During his time with Cosmos, Pele was teammates with local icon Jomo Sono in 1977 and he also rubbed shoulders with SA football legends Kaizer Motaung and Ace Ntsoelengoe in the North American Soccer League.
Pele facilitated Arthur Zwane's move to Santos from Jomo Cosmos in 1996 during the current Kaizer Chiefs coach's playing days thanks to the Brazilian's friendship with Sono.

WHAT IS NEXT FOR SAFA?: As Jordaan stated they will have to wait and see what Infantino is proposing regarding renaming stadiums after Pele, Safa has submitted a formal bid to host the 2027 Women's World Cup and they plan to use the stadiums which were renovated and built for the 2010 Men's World Cup to during the tournament.