Cape Verde’s national stadium is to be renamed after Pele, the country’s prime minister has said.
The Pele Stadium will be the 15,000-seat Estadio Nacional de Cabo Verde, which is situated just outside the nation’s capital Praia.
The announcement follows Gianna Infantino, the president of Fifa, who suggested that each nation name a stadium in honor of the late football great Pele while speaking at his memorial service in Brazil on December 29. Pele, 82, passed away on that day.
“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 was selected Fifa’s Player of the Century in 2000 and is credited with scoring a world-record 1,281 goals in 1,363 matches over the course of a 21-year career, including 77 goals in 92 matches for his country.
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”.