Pelé loved Africa. His famous prediction of an African country winning the World Cup remains unfulfilled, even though it was never fulfilled during his lifetime. He gave the African soil a taste of his genius skill at play.
It is said that his presence in Nigeria was a force that ceased fire during the Nigeria-Biafra war. He visited Nigeria three times. He first arrived in Nigeria with his team, Santos, in 1969 to play matches on January 26 and February 4—twice in the same year. His presence preached peace.
In 1976, he goes to Nigeria on a Pepsi-sponsored trip to play a friendly match while participating in the inauguration of football schools, alongside other sports personalities like Stan Smith.
Finally, in 1978, he returns to Nigeria on a trip sponsored by the Fluminense (Flu) household appliance to watch a friendly match between the Fluminense and Racca Rovers, a Nigerian team. He had the first kick of the game and showed up to play for Flu after the first 45 minutes at the Ahmadu Stadium in Kaduna.
In February 1969, he travelled to Ghana with his Santos team to play against Accra Hearts of Oak, one of Ghana’s most powerful football clubs. The game ended with four breathtaking goals, 2-2 for both teams.
Visiting Algeria in June 1965, he entertained the over 50,000 spectators present to watch him play the Algerian national team. Finally, he scored two goals in Congo, giving the Brazilian team a 2-1 victory over the Congolese team in June 1967.
Pelé was also present at the 2012 final AFCON match between Ivory Coast and Zambia at the Stade de L’Armitié in Libreville, Gabon.
“He gave a voice to the poor, to black people, and, most importantly, to Brazil.” Soccer and Brazil have raised their status thanks to the King! He’s gone, but his magic remains. Pelé is forever. Neymar, who wears the No. 10 for Brazil and also started his career with Santos, wrote in a post on Instagram.
The Greatest of All Time holds the record for being the youngest player in history to win three World Cups (1958, 1962, and 1970). He excelled so well that his name gradually became a household name. Brazil’s all-time leading scorer, with 77 goals in 92 games 12 goals in 14 World Cup appearances; among many other football accomplishments, he scored 99 hat tricks in both official and unofficial matches.
He retired from football in 1977 as a humanitarian and a worldwide ambassador for football.
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- Pelé loved Africa - January 11, 2023