The government of Guinea-Bissau has announced that the Estadio da Rocha stadium in the town of Bafatá is to be named after Pelé. The decision was taken at the Council of Ministers meeting in Bissau, under the chairmanship of the Guinean head of state, Umaro Sissoco Embalo.
The stadium is home to Sporting Clube do Bafatá who play in the top flight of Guinea-Bissau’s national championship. The decision was in response to Gianni Infantino’s recent suggestion that FIFA’s 211 member associations each name at least one stadium or football venue after the Brazilian legend.
Gianni made his suggestion while attending a memorial for Pelé in Santos, Brazil, on 2 January. He said it would ensure that future generations around the world would know about Pelé and what he did for football.
“My deepest gratitude goes to President Umaro Sissoco Embaló, the government of Guinea-Bissau and the Bissau-Guinean Football Federation for honouring the memory of the eternal king by renaming the Estádio da Rocha in Bafatá as the Pelé Stadium,” said FIFA President Gianni Infantino.
Cabo Verde has also said it plans to name its Estádio Nacional after Pelé, who passed away on 29 December. In Colombia, the Bello Horizonte stadium in the city of Villavicencio will also be named after the Brazilian icon.
READ ALSO: Football legend Pelé dies at 82
Renaming the stadium is “as an expression of the public recognition of his status as the king of world football, the Council of Ministers has decided that the regional stadium of Bafatá will be given the name Rei Pelé in response to the appeal from the FIFA President,” the Council said.
Pele was selected Fifa’s Player of the Century in 2000 and is attributed 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.
Pelé died aged 82, at the Albert Einstein Israeli hospital, in São Paulo, following the failure of multiple organs a result of the progression of colon cancer.
“Pelé is today a unique figure in the world. Everyone knows in this world who Pelé is, he was a planetary figure,” said Carlos Teixeira, the president of the Guinea-Bissau Football Federation.