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Guinea Bissau Names Stadium for Pele

FILE: The casket of Brazilian football legend Pele is moved from the center circle of his former club Santos' Vila Belmiro stadium. Taken January 3, 2023

The West African state of Guinea-Bissau has renamed a sports stadium in its second city Bafata "Pele Stadium" in honor of the late Brazilian football legend, the government announced on Friday.

The stadium naming decision was made at a cabinet meeting after observing a minute's silence in memory of Pele, who died on December 29 at age 82, the government said in a statement.

The regional stadium in Bafata, located about 150 kilometers east of the capital Bissau, has a capacity of about 15,000 seats.

On Wednesday, Cape Verde's prime minister announced that the stadium in its capital city, Praia, would also be renamed the "Pele Stadium".

The two African countries made the name changes in response to a call by FIFA president Gianni Infantino for each member country of the world football association to name one of its stadiums after the star player.

Following Pele's death, thousands of fans and football dignitaries gathered at the stadium of the Brazilian club Santos, where he had played from 1956 to 1974, to pay their respects.

Pele's final resting place was a 200-square-metre (2,150-square-feet) mausoleum in Santos' vertical cemetery, where a huge crowd of fans paid tribute to him.