Rwanda: Stadium named after Pelé - Infantino stars at the event
source: fifa.com; author: Kuba Kowalski
Rwanda held a grand inauguration of a stadium renovated and named after Pelé on March 15. The event was hosted by FIFA President Gianni Infantino and Rwandan President Paul Kagame. They took part in a commemorative football tournament.
A stadium named after Pelé in Rwanda - why?
The idea of naming a football facility after a Brazilian legend should not surprise anyone. Pelé, or rather Edson Arantes do Nascimento, has written himself a great history. What's more, he grew up in a poor family and had extremely difficult conditions for football development, and yet he reached the top in his sport. His resume is certainly a sports inspiration for Africa - a developing continent with big dreams and aspirations in the domain of sports. This is perfectly illustrated by the statement of President Kagame, who said:
Pelé is a son of Africa who brought the whole world together through sports. A man with humble beginnings who rose to a level of excellence, but who is also an inspiration to many people with a similar history around the world.
Besides, naming the facility after the football star is a kind of response to Infantino's words after the Brazilian's death. He stated at the time:
We will ask all countries in the world to name one of their stadiums after Pelé. Rwanda's president referred to this statement, expressing gratitude for such an initiative and the privilege the African country has enjoyed. Until now, the arena was known as Kigali Stadium, but from now on it will be called Kigali Pelé Stadium. Interestingly, Rwanda is the second country in the world to take such a step. The first venue named after Pelé was a stadium in Praia, Cape Verde, formerly known as Estádio Nacional de Cabo Verde.
Who won at the new stadium?
Rwanda seems to have won everything. First of all, the country received another modern sports facility. And it doesn't stop there, as renovation work is also underway on the historic Stade Amahoro. In addition, Rwanda won on the pitch. Infantino and Kagame not only spoke at the inauguration, but took part in a mini-tournament along with other participants. In a direct clash between the teams of Paul Kagame and Gianni Infantino, the team of the Rwandan president won 3:2.
The delegates, however, did not return so quickly from Africa. They took part in the 73rd FIFA Congress, which took place at the BK Arena in Rwanda's largest city, Kigali. The event is the main reason for the visit of FIFA representatives to the country, and the inauguration of the stadium was held just before it for a reason. Importantly, FIFA elections will be held during the Congress. There are many indications that Infantino will retain his position due to the lack of competition. If that happens, he will be elected for another four-year term as FIFA president. Below is footage from the mini-tournament held to celebrate the inauguration of the stadium named after Pelé.