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Infantino inaugurates ‘Pelé’ stadium in Rwanda

Featured image credit: FIFA

Featured image credit: FIFA

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has attended the official opening of a renamed ‘Pelé’ stadium in Rwanda.

Infantino, who called on all nations to rename a venue in the Brazilian star’s honour following his death last year, was present at the Kigali Pelé Stadium as a ceremony marked the official change of name. Rwanda’s President, Paul Kagame, also attended the event at the former Kigali Regional Stadium, which has a capacity of 22,000.

Kagame thanked the FIFA president for his effort in promoting football in the world and said that the stadium will encourage local talents to excel. The stadium ceremony was followed by a football match which featured President Kagame as part of a Rwanda XI against a FIFA team that featured Infantino.

Infantino said: “Thank you for this great gesture to name this beautiful football stadium after Pelé.”

The Kigali Pelé Stadium has recently undergone a large-scale renovation project with the work on the stadium itself funded by the government of Rwanda. Meanwhile, FIFA contributed funding for the upgrade of a brand-new pitch.

Pelé, the three-time World Cup winner, passed away in late December 2022 aged 82 following a long illness.

The inauguration took place as Kigali also hosted the 73rd FIFA Congress at BK Arena.

Infantino said following : “We’re going to ask every country in the world to name one of their football stadiums with the name of Pele.” Rwanda follows the examples of Panama, Colombia, Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau in paying tribute to the football legend. In January 2023, FIFA also announced that the Home of FIFA football pitch is to be named after Pelé.

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