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'Pele made millions of young boys in Africa dream' - Kenya's Ruto leads East Africa to mourn Brazil legend

12:53 PM GMT+4 30/12/2022
Pele waves.
Kenya President William Ruto has led the East African region to mourn the death of Brazilian great Pele.
  • Pele retired having won three World Cups
  • He passed away from cancer complications
  • Ruto, Wanyama, and Nyamweya lead the East African region with tributes

WHAT HAPPENED? The Brazilian icon, who was pictured at the 2018 World Cup in Russia but was admitted to hospital after collapsing due to exhaustion a month after the tournament, passed away on Thursday aged 82 from cancer complications.

News of Pele's demise spread in the East African region, with Kenyan President Ruto and former Harambee Stars captain Victor Wanyama among those who have sent their messages of condolences.

WHAT DID RUTO SAY: "Pele made millions of young boys in the African continent and global south to dream," he wrote on Twitter.

"His profile as a Global icon of sporting excellence and high athletic achievement was an inspirational model which encouraged young men to transcend their limitations and defy all economic, social, cultural and political barriers.

"His legacy extends beyond the soccer pitch, the goals he scored and all his other exploits beyond soccer itself where his charisma and talent made wonderful things possible to authentic global leadership of a unique, talismanic kind."

Former Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who is an ardent follower of the sport and current patron of FKF Premier League outfit Gor Mahia, said Pele deserves credit for the entertainment he offered during his career.

"What a loss for humanity," Odinga wrote on his Twitter handle, adding: "Pele was a great and charismatic personality, who changed football forever.

"He deserves credit for the entertaining matches we've come to expect. In many ways, he was the best and a pioneer. He'll be dearly missed. Pele, Rest in Peace."

Meanwhile, former FKF President Sam Nyamweya described Pele as an icon who acted as an inspiration to many budding football players.

"I take this chance to join the rest of the footballing world to express my sorrow over the passing of global football legend Pele, Nyamweya said in a statement to GOAL.

"Pele's death is a huge loss for the football world. He was committed to improving the living conditions of the poor and marginalised not only in his country Brazil but across the globe. My thoughts and condolences to Pele's family."

WHAT IS MORE? Former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Wanyama has labelled as one greatest footballers of all time.

"One of the greatest footballers of all time," Wanyama, who recently parted ways with MLS side CF Montreal, wrote adding" "The King. RIP Pele. 🙏🕊️."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Several clubs from the region have also left their messages on their social media handle.

AFC Leopards of Kenya wrote: "The football King has rested 💔 Rest in Peace, Pele. 🐐"

Simba SC of Tanzania: "Your legacy will live on forever 🕊️ Rest in peace, Pele."

Ugandan Premier League champions Vipers SC described Pele, who retired having won three World Cups, as one of the greatest to ever play the sport while Fufa said Pele will forever be remembered.