The national stadium in Cape Verde will be renamed after Pele, according to the country’s prime minister, Ulisses Correia e Silva. The Pele Stadium will replace the 15,000-seater Estadio Nacional de Cabo Verde, which is located just outside the city Praia.
The announcement comes after Fifa President Gianna Infantino requested at Pele’s memorial service in Brazil that every country name a stadium after the footballing star, who died on December 29, aged 82.
“As a tribute and recognition to this figure that makes us all great, I manifest the intention of naming our national stadium as “Pele Stadium”, in an initiative that, I believe, will be followed by several countries around the world,” Ulisses Correira e Silva wrote on Facebook.
“With the physical disappearance of Edson Arantes de Nascimento, King Pele, who soon became a planetary figure, an icon of the masses showing that sport has the power to unite the world, it is now our wish to pay tribute to him,” Mr Silva said in a statement that emphasized Pele’s significance to Portuguese-speaking countries like Cape Verde.
He added, “Cape Verde and Brazil have a history and culture that go hand in hand, considering they are two sister countries, linked by language and very similar identities.
“Pele was and always will be a reference in Brazil, in our Portuguese-speaking countries and in the rest of the world, being an idol that links several generations.”
Pele set a world record with 1,281 goals in 1,363 appearances over a 21-year career, including 77 goals in 92 matches for Brazil, and was voted Fifa’s Player of the Century in 2000.
At Monday’s memorial to Pele in Santos, the city where he played club football, Infantino announced that Fifa will be asking “every country in the world to name one of its football stadiums with the name of Pele”.
Meanwhile, South Africa’s Football Association president, Danny Jordaan, has recently expressed concern that this could lead to problems with stadium naming rights.
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