Kenya’s President William Ruto and opposition leader Raila Odinga have joined world leaders in expressing grief over the death of Brazilian soccer legend, Edson Arantes do Nascimento (Pele).
Pele, who is arguably the world’s greatest footballer died on Thursday, December 29, in a Sao Paolo hospital aged 82 years.
In a tribute to the late football hero, President William Ruto in a statement described Pele as a Global icon of sporting excellence who ‘made millions of young boys in the Global South to dream’.
Ruto said Pele’s high athletic achievement was an inspirational model which encouraged young men to transcend their limitations and defy all economic, social, cultural, and political barriers.
“His legacy extends beyond the soccer pitch, the goals he scored, and all his other exploits beyond soccer itself where his charisma and talent made wonderful things possible to authentic global leadership of a unique, talismanic kind. May his soul rest in peace,” Ruto said.
On his part, Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party presidential candidate Raila Odinga eulogized Pele as a great and charismatic personality who changed football forever.
“Pele was a great and charismatic personality who changed football forever. He deserves credit for the entertaining matches we’ve come to expect. In many ways, he was the best and a pioneer. He’ll be dearly missed. Pele, Rest in Peace,” Raila said.
US President Joe Biden said “before there was Messi, Ronaldo, and Beckham, there was Pele. In 1958, he won his first World Cup for Brasil at seventeen, the youngest winner ever. he went on to win another two World Cups in 1962 and 1970 making him the only player in the world today with three World Cup trophies.”
Pele, won three World Cup trophies three times in 1958, 1962, and 1970. He is credited with scoring a record 1,281 goals during a 21-year-long sterling career for which FIFA named him the “Player of the Century” in the year 2000.