Cape Verde’s national stadium is to be renamed after Pele, the country’s prime minister has said.
The 15,000-seater Estadio Nacional de Cabo Verde, located just outside the capital Praia, will become the Pele Stadium.
The news comes after Fifa’s president Gianna Infantino proposed – while speaking at Pele’s memorial service in Brazil – that every country should name a stadium after the footballing legend who died on 29 December, 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,” added Mr Silva in a statement that stressed the importance of Pele to Portuguese-speaking countries like Cape Verde.
“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 is credited with scoring a world record 1,281 goals in 1,363 appearances during a 21-year career, including 77 goals in 92 matches for his country, and was named Fifa’s Player of the Century in 2000.
At Monday’s memorial to Pele in Santos, the city where he played club football, Infantino said that Fifa would be asking “every country in the world to name one of their football stadiums with the name of Pele”.
However, South Africa’s Football Association president Danny Jordaan has since raised concerns that this could cause potential issues with stadium naming rights.
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