Some 2,400 people signed an online petition in four days challenging the Cape Verdean Prime Minister’s announced intention to name the National Stadium in Praia after Pelé.
The petition, which Lusa saw this Monday on the change.org platform, is titled “We don’t want our ‘National Stadium’ to be called ‘Estadio Pele'” and comes after intense debate in public opinion and networks. in Cape Verde since the announcement of this intention by Prime Minister Ulisses Correia y Silva in response to FIFA’s call to pay tribute to the memory of the former Brazilian football player who died on 29 December.
“If FIFA recommends that the name of the stadium in all countries is Pelé Stadium, then FIFA should fund the new Pelé Stadium.we will gladly accept. No doubt we recognize the greatness of the great Pele, but he would be better celebrated by Santos and his country,” the petition reads, classifying the government’s intention as “an emotional and immature act.”
Cape Verdean Prime Minister Ulisses Correia e Silva announced on January 4 his intention to name the National Stadium, located on the outskirts of the city of Praia, after Pele.
The announcement was made through a post posted on his official Facebook social media account, which has already produced a record of more than 4,400 comments on him, mostly criticizing this intention, for not being a Cape Verdean figure, for lack of communication between the archipelago and the former football player, or even the fact that the stadium is not certified by FIFA for hosting international matches due to the state of the grass.
“Cape Verde and Brazil have a history and culture that go hand in hand, given that they are two sister countries linked by language and very similar identities,” the prime minister justifies in his message, adding that Pelé “has been and will be a reference” in Brazil, in the Portuguese-speaking world and throughout the rest of the world..
The chief executive, led by Ulisses Correia and Silva, announced the intention to rename the Chinese-built stadium, opened in 2014 and with a capacity of about 15,000 spectators, as a “tribute and recognition” to Pele.
On the same day, the FIFA president thanked Cape Verde for taking the initiative to name the National Stadium after Pelé in a message left on his Instagram account.
“Thank you so much Cape Verde! I would like to thank Prime Minister Ulisses Silva, Minister of Sports Carlos do Canto and the Football Federation of Cape Verde, represented by its President Mario Semedo, for Cape Verde’s announcement of its intention to name Pelé at the National Stadium. posted by Gianni Infantino on the social network.
For Infantino, this groundbreaking gesture honors the country and honors Pelé’s memory, adding that he hopes “more stadiums and places where football is played around the world will also be associated with this global homage.”
Pele died on December 29 at the age of 82 at the Albert Einstein Hospital in São Paulo, Israel, following multiple organ failure resulting from the progression of colon cancer.
The former footballer has been hospitalized since November 29 at this hospital for chemotherapy for a colon tumor and treatment for a respiratory infection.
Born on October 23, 1940 in Tres Corações, Minas Gerais, Pelé was the only footballer, three-time world champion in 1958, 1962 and 1970, scored 77 goals in 92 matches for the Brazilian national team and played for the Brazilian club Santos and Cosmos from USA.
He was also Minister of Sports in the government of Fernando Enrique Cardoso from 1995 to 1998, was elected Sportsman of the Century by the International Olympic Committee (1999) and FIFA Footballer of the Century (2000).