Story by Anashe Murombedzi
Fans in Brazil have gathered in large numbers at Villa Belmiro Stadium, the home of Santos football club, to pay tribute to one of the world’s football legends, Pele, who died on Thursday.
The story of Pele cannot be told without talking about Sao Paulo where he made his name and rightly so it was where funeral proceedings took place this Monday.
The three-time World Cup winner’s body was taken to Villa Belmiro Stadium, home of Santos, where a funeral service was held, giving football fans an opportunity to bid farewell to one of the best players in the history of world football.
Memories flashed back to the days when the forward spent the bulk of his career at Santos, scoring hundreds of goals in their colours, dominating rivals and inventing the magical skills to beautify the game.
The funeral wake will continue until Tuesday morning, with Pele’s coffin set to be carried around the streets of Santos and eventually passing in front of the house of Pele’s mother, Celeste.
According to reports, Pele’s last wish was to be buried on the ninth floor of a cemetery in his beloved home city of Santos which is near the Santos Stadium, with the choice of the ninth floor being a tribute to his father, who wore the number nine shirt during his football career.
Pele, who succumbed to colon cancer at the age of 82 on Thursday last week, will be buried at a private ceremony this Tuesday.