The world has continued to mourn the death of of Brazilian soccer legend, Edson Arantes do Nascimento, known as Pele, who died on Thursday after a protracted cancer ailment at age of 82 years.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari joins world leaders in expressing grief over Pele’s demise.
The world’s greatest ever football player succumbed to death after suffering a debilitating bout of cancer. He won three World Cups and scored over 1,281 goals, becoming the original football icon in a long career for which he was named the “Player of the Century” in the year 2000.
In a tribute to the football legend on behalf of all Nigerians, President Buhari says, “May he rest in peace. He led a good life and made a huge contribution to the development of global football in particular and world sport in general.
“He had an enormous generousity of spirit and humility despite his greatness as a footballer and sportsman. He also built bridges across nations, races and even religions. He was a UN Ambassador of goodwill. Pele is gone but the world will never forget him. RIP. “
Rather than grief and wail, the football world are rather raining praises, prayers and fond encomiums on the man, who undoubtedly, got more die-hard converts for the beautiful game, with his unbelievable exploits with the game.
Like other genuine lovers of the game around the world, the President of Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF), Engr. Ahmadu Musa Kida, remarked that King Pele had lived a fulfilling and impactful life.
“I think King Pele should be celebrated in his death. True, from Allah, we came and to Him, we shall return, I would rather thank God for giving this great legend a good and fulfilling life.
“Like millions of football lovers, we grew up looked up to playing football and becoming famous like him. I fell in love with the game and started out as a goalkeeper. The rest, like the saying, is history because, basketball took over,” the multiple awards winning sports administrator remarked.
Nigeria’s Pillar Of Sports, High Chief Donatus Agu-Ejidike, said he is particularly, happy that Pele, lived a good life and his iconic status was a great inspiration to millions of past and present footballers and enthusiasts across the world.
“We grew up loving Pele and aspiring to be like him. I tell you, he was God’s special gift to the world. Instead of mourning him, we should be celebrating him for a life well spent,” the well loved sports enthusiast and philanthropist stated.
On his own part, the National Chairman of Nigeria Football Supporters Club, Ambassador(Rev). Samuel Ikpea was effusive in praises for the late football icon.
“King Pele, without a doubt, played a huge role in making football, the biggest and most attractive sport in the world. How many of his iconic achievements can we recall?,” Ikpea asked rhetorically.
“Many past and present footballers rose through their love for his influence and feats. Like millions of growing up starry-eyed kids, back then, we adopted the name Pele. We all wanted to be the new Pele.
“As a part of Nigeria Football Supporters Club activities to use football to further preach peace, unity and love to Nigerians, we recently brought the famous Santos Futbol Club of Brazil, back to Nigeria, to play football and evoke fond football memories of their past visit to Nigeria during the 1967 Civil War. It’s painful that King Pele who was who was prominent member of that Santos team, couldn’t visit Nigeria again, due to ill health.
“Today, he is gone. Rather grief, the world should stand up in unison to celebrate this great football hero. I want all football loving nations and particularly, FIFA to immortalise King Pele,” Ikpea stated.