Legendary Brazilian footballer Pele, who brought the game of football to where it is today, left all of us on Friday, 30th December 2022. Over the past month, reports emerged that the veteran was admitted to the hospital and was being given end-of-life care. His battle with cancer ultimately led to his demise today, at the Albert Einstein hospital in Sao Paulo.
Pele is regarded as the GOAT “Greatest Of All Time”. His contribution to football is unmatched. He has taught us that football is not only a sport but it is also a way to enjoy art. He put Brazil on the world map and has inspired a whole generation of youth to be football players.
PELE: The man who stopped a war
Pele also had incredible powers as he could mesmerise people through his art of playing football. He is also the man who stopped a war.
The Nigerian Civil War, also known as the Biafra War, was fought between 5th July 1967 to 13th January 1970. The war caused the death of 1-2 million people.
However when Brazilian football giants Santos landed in Benin City to face a Central West State side, Nigerian Super Eagles, astonishingly, a 48-hour ceasefire was called between the Nigerian government and the secessionist state of Biafra on 4th February 1969 so they could watch Pele. The game ended in a 2-2 draw with Pele receiving incessant applause and a standing ovation from the home fans.
Pele’s greatest pride
Recently, two years ago, Pele took to Twitter and called the ceasefire during the Nigerian Civil War one of his “greatest prides”.
Pele wrote: “I learned as a kid, with my father Dondinho, that football is an instrument for good.”
“He taught me that lesson when he saw me dribbling a weaker opponent without any need and asked me to always respect my rivals. I took that for life, always using my talent for love and peace.”
“I always tried to send this message, as football player and as a man. One of my greatest pride was to have stopped a war in Nigeria, in 1969, in one the many football tours that Santos made around the world.”
“We were asked to play a friendly match on Benin City, in the middle of a Civil War, but Santos was so beloved that they agreed on a ceasefire on the matchday. It became known as the day that ‘Santos stopped the war’.”
“I always tried to send this message, as football player and as a man. One of my greatest prides was to have stopped a war in Nigeria, in 1969, in one the many football tours that Santos made around the world.”