Two down, 209 to go. Rwanda became the second nation in the world to name a stadium after the Brazilian legend Pelé, following his death in December 2022. Shortly after the official confirmation of his passing, FIFA President Gianni Infantino announced that he wanted every country in the world to have a stadium named after the former player. Cape Verde became number one and on 15 March, Rwanda became number two, with President Paul Kagame also attended the event and aided the FIFA President in the reopening of the ground. Baby steps.

The 73rd FIFA congress is to take place on 16 March in Kigali, Rwanda, in which various topics regarding the sport will be discussed. Gianni Infantino, FIFA’s current President, will also stand for election. He is the only candidate.

Gianni Infantino and Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame at the Nyamirambo Stadium, which has changed its name to Pele Stadium. JEAN BIZIMANAREUTERS

The second Pelé Stadium in the world

Before it was known as the Nyamirambo Stadium, now it is the Pelé Stadium. The multi-sports ground is in Kigali and holds 22,000 people. Back in January, the Cape Verde National Stadium, a 15,000 seater venue that is home to the Cape Verde National Team, changed its name to the Pelé Stadium.

The Cape Verde Prime Minister Ulisses Correia e Silva was the person who confirmed that their Estadio Nacional de Cabo Verde would be renamed after Pele, saying “The 15,000-seat stadium, which hosts football matches for the Cape Verde national team, will be called ‘Pele Stadium’ in honour of the former New York Cosmos player. As a tribute and recognition to this figure that makes us all great, I manifest the intention of naming our national stadium as ‘Pele Stadium,’ in an initiative that, I believe, will be followed by several countries around the world.”

FIFA president Gianni Infantino hosted and played in a game at the reopening of the Nyamirambo Stadium. JEAN BIZIMANAREUTERS

Did Gianni win the MVP award in the Pelé Stadium?

Gianni, after opening the stadium and posing for photos, then tied the laces on his boots, pulled up his socks and took part in a football match with FIFA officials and legends who were present. Local news in Rwanda reported that “President Kagame won the game 3-2… that was initially meant to last for 11 minutes, but people on field said, it took longer than this.” I have not read the match report on the official FIFA website, but I can only assume Mr. Infantino won the MVP award.

Source: AS

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