‘Your legacy will be eternal’: sporting world pays tribute to Pele

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Brazilian soccer legend and honorary ambassador for the 2014 World Cup Pele smiles during a news conference ahead of the preliminary draw in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 29, 2011. REUTERS/Sergio Moraes

The sporting world continue to  express its sorrow at the death of one of its greatest heroes on Friday, bidding farewell to Brazilian soccer legend Pele with a flood of heartfelt tributes.

In Nigeria, the President General  of the Nigeria Football and other Sports Suppoters’ Club, Dr. Rafiu Oladipo remarked: “The greatest football player Pele has passed. The world will never forget him. On behalf of genuine soccer followers accross the world, we pray his soul continue to rest in peace. His legacy lives for ever.”

Also, the President of CAF Dr Patrice Motsepe expressed the condolences of Football on the African Continent on the passing of Football Icon Pelé. 

Dr Motsepe said: “Pelé was a unique inspiration to the African Continent and to football lovers worldwide and his death is a huge loss for supporters and fans of football globally.

“We have on several occasions over the past 18 months used his statement that an African Nation will win the FIFA World Cup by the year 2000, as a source of inspiration to motivate the African Nations participating in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.

“We have also been inspired by the work he did and his commitment to improve the living conditions of the poor and marginalized. Pelé will forever live in the hearts and minds of football lovers in Africa and worldwide.

Brazil’s Pele, a prolific goalscorer who won the World Cup an unprecedented three times as a player in 1958, 1962 and 1970,  died on Thursday aged 82 after a long battle with cancer.

World soccer’s governing body FIFA lowered all flags at its headquarters in Zurich “as a symbol of mourning and respect,” while the Premier League, EFL and A-League said they would pay tribute to the soccer great through a minute’s applause before games.

The Premier League and EFL added that players will wear black armbands during this weekend’s matches, while Spain’s LaLiga said it would observe a minute’s silence ahead of games.

Several footballers took to social media to pay tribute to Pele, with Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah sharing a picture of the icon on Instagram, writing in the caption: “Farewell to a legend of football.”

Real Madrid and Croatia midfielder Luka Modric said Pele was “one of the greatest of all time,” while Moroccan defender Achraf Hakimi posted a black and white photo of a young Pele smiling, writing on Twitter, “your legacy will be eternal.”

The Australian Professional Leagues (APL) said all A-League games this weekend will hold a minute’s applause before kick-off to pay tribute to “an icon”.

The minute’s applause was observed ahead of Western United’s home game against Brisbane Roar on Friday.

Brazilian tennis player Thiago Monteiro said it was a sad day for Brazil.

“Pele was our biggest idol in sports. He did so much even for the country, to showing Brazil to the world, and we had a lot of respect for him,” Monteiro told reporters.

Indian cricket great Sachin Tendulkar said Pele’s death was “a great loss to not just football but to the whole world of sports.

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