Rwandan President Paul Kagame along with FIFA president Gianni Infantino have opened Kigali ‘Pelé’ Stadium in honor of Brazilian icon Pelé who died last December 2022.
In a ceremony held on Wednesday, March 15, 2023, the former Kigali stadium has opened after renovations.
During the ceremony, various games of competition between teams of football veterans played as part of the activities related to FIFA’s 73rd General Assembly, which is being held in Kigali.
The renovations began on January 4, 2023 included replacing the existing carpets, changing the roof, renovating the roof, and painting the roof’s various corners.
President Paul Kagame appreciated FIFA President Gianni Infantino for this the event.
“We appreciate your presence here right now. I’d like to thank you, Gianni, FIFA President, for allowing us to bring all of these people together here as we open this Pelé Stadium,” he stated.
Adding that “This stadium is a place for young girls and boys to come together and play, to learn from Pelé”.
Gianni Infantino said that they are happy to be in Rwanda during the 73rd FIFA Summit.
He said: “Today we brought the whole world to Rwanda because of football that unites the world.”
“We are also excited to see the “Kigali Pelé Stadium,” he added.
“Pelé was a football player and we must remember him even though he is no longer with us’,” FIFA’s president added.
Various countries have named some of their stadiums after Pelé following the request of FIFA President Gianni Infantino at his funeral on January 3, 2023.
Pelé is considered to be the first player in the history of the World Cup. He played in the World Cup four times, winning three in 1958, 1962 and 1970, where he scored 12 goals in 14 games.
He scored 1281 goals in 1363 games as a professional.