PELE, THE «AFRICAN», WAS ALSO A KING ON THE CONTINENT
Pele? Everything has been said about the best player in the history of football. Since his death on December 29, 2022, the world has been mourning an athlete whose fame has far exceeded the borders of Brazil, his country. A continent of football, Africa also adored Pele. Synopsis of the life of a legend and its impact in Africa.
Born on October 23, 1940, in Tres Coraçoes in the state of Minas Gerais (north of Rio de Janeiro), to poor parents, Edson Arantes do Nascimento, simply reinvented football in Brazil and in the world. For the record, it was in 1943, at the age of three, that he was nicknamed Pele. Originally, «Bilé» is the name of a goalkeeper and friend of his father. Bilé becomes «Pounded» in the mouth of Edson Arantes who loved him, then finally Pele. However, Pele’s parents nicknamed him «Dico.»
On September 7, 1956, Pelé played his first match with Santos, his first team, where he followed Waldemar de Brito, the coach who had spotted him before integrating him in the juniors of Bauru AC. Faithful, Pele spent 18 years with Santos, that is, most of his career.
On June 29, 1958, Pelé wrote the beginning of his legend. He broke out early and definitively in the eyes of the world during that year’s World Cup final. Against Sweden, the host country, he was only 17 years old yet he slammed a monumental double. As of today, he remains the youngest player and scorer in a world Cup final.
In 1962, he was courted by the whole world, but remained focused on his desire to stay in Santos. He wins his second World Cup in Chile. But this time, he is on the bench and witnesses the dribbling panache of his teammate: Garrincha. Even injured, he becomes a two-time world champion.
On November 19, 1969, Pelé still wrote his legend. The thousandth goal of his career, a penalty against Vasco de Gama, is celebrated for 20 minutes in the mythical Maracana stadium in madness….