Brazil legend Pele, real name Edson Arantes do Nascimento, the only man to have won the World Cup of football thrice (1958, 1962, 1970) and widely acknowledged as one of the two greatest footballers of all time –FIFA rated him as number 1, ahead of Maradona - muimay visit Dhaka later this month, possibly coinciding with the Bangabandhu International Gold Cup to be held January 15-25 here.
An initiative inspired by this year’s designation as ‘Mujib Borsho' to honor the contribution of the Swadhin Bangla Football team in the Liberation war of Bangladesh. Moreover, it is anticipated that Pele will witness a 2 (two) days program named “100 years, Father of the nation”.
Masud Jamil Khan, Co-Founder of the Cholo Kheli Trust is maintaining close touch with authority concerned to bring Pele, popularly known as the “Black Pearl”, to Bangladesh aiming to regain the games past glory and as well as to awake up the tradition of football in Bangladesh.
Meanwhile, the CEO of the official sponsor of the upcoming Bangabandhu International Gold Cup Football K-SPORTS, Fahad Karim also told UNB that they will assure the matter by Monday evening.
CEO of K-SPORTS said “We have talked with the FIFA Legends, a FIFA organization that worked to bring former world class men’s and women’s players and coaches from various countries to promote and support football globally.
“We have given them three choices of nation: Brazil, Spain and Italy. We are expecting Brazilian Stars,” Fahad added.
“We will assure the name of the world-cupper Monday evening. And we are expecting him ahead of the semis (of the BB Gold Cup),” the CEO added.
Earlier, Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) and K-SPORTS entered a partnership to generate enthusiasm and drive engagement of football lovers during the Bangabandhu Gold Cup. Accordingly they are working with a shortlist of legendary football names whose presence during the Gold Cup can raise its profile and help BFF achieve its marketing goals.
Failing in case to net star Ronaldinho, Italian defender Paolo Maldini were in the priority list.
Pele’s only previous visit to the Indian subcontinent was in 1977 with MLS side New York Cosmos, to play an exhibition game against Mohun Bagan in Kolkata. Ever since capturing the world’s attention as a precocious 17-year-old during the 1958 World Cup held in Sweden, he has enjoyed immense popularity in the football-mad region.
Brazil and Argentina remain the most popular sides among the people, leading to entire streets and neighbourhoods bedecked in the two countries’ flags every four years during the World Cup. As the talisman of Brazil, Pele’s individual popularity is likely to last