Story: Kwadwo Owusu Aduomi
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has reacted to the death of Brazilian football legend, Edson Arantes do Nascimento popularly known as Pele.
In a tribute, the President acknowledged Pele’s impact on the world of football and how his presence has gone on to inspire many people across the globe.
“The whole world of sports is poorer today for the loss of one of its greatest figures, certainly its greatest soccer player, with the departure to Heaven of Edson Arantes do Nascimento, the iconic, legendary Pele,” he wrote.
President Akufo-Addo added that “those of us who had the privilege to witness his incomparable career will cherish forever the memories of skill, talent, determination, and sheer athleticism which we derived from his playing of the game he himself described as ‘the beautiful game’.”
He also acknowledged Pele’s humanitarian activities and his work that made him an advocate for the poor, children, young people, black people, and an inspiration to several generations of footballers.
“The Ghanaian people, who admired him deeply join me in expressing our heartfelt condolences and sympathies to his family, the Brazilian people, the Brazilian government, and football and sports lovers the world over. There will never be another like him. May his soul rest in perfect peace with the blessings of the Almighty.”
The Brazilian football legend Pele, arguably the greatest player ever, died on Thursday at the age of 82.
Born Edson Arantes do Nascimento, he is credited with scoring a world record 1,281 goals in 1,363 appearances during a 21-year career, including 77 goals in 92 matches for his country.
The only player to win the World Cup three times, lifting the trophy in 1958, 1962 and 1970, Pele was named Fifa’s Player of the Century in 2000.
He had been suffering with kidney and prostate problems in recent years.
Pele had surgery to remove a tumour from his colon in September 2021 at the Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo, after the tumour was detected in routine tests.
He was readmitted to the hospital in late November 2022.
His daughter Kely Nascimento has kept fans updated on her father’s condition with regular social media updates from the hospital.
On Thursday she posted a picture of what appeared to be Pele’s family’s hands on his body in the hospital and wrote: “Everything we are is thanks to you. We love you infinitely. Rest in peace.”