South Africans mourn football legend Pele

South Africans in Sebokeng township reacted on Friday to the death of Pelé, the Brazilian king of soccer who won a record three World Cups and became one of the most commanding sports figures of the last century following his death on Thursday at the age of 82.

Pele had undergone treatment for colon cancer since 2021 and had been hospitalised for the last month with multiple ailments.

Widely regarded as one of soccer’s greatest players, Pelé spent nearly two decades enchanting fans and dazzling opponents as the game’s most prolific scorer with Brazilian club Santos and the Brazil national team.

In Johannesburg, Confederation of African Football (CAF) instructor and former player and coach Kenneth Kubheka agreed with popular opinion that Pele was the greatest player of all time.

Those sentiments were shared by another former player, Peter ‘Fire’ Khoabane, who said Pele would always be remembered as a legend of the sport.

Pele’s grace, athleticism and mesmerising moves transfixed players and fans.

He orchestrated a fast, fluid style that revolutionised the sport — a samba-like flair that personified his country’s elegance on the field.

He carried Brazil to soccer’s heights and became a global ambassador for his sport in a journey that began on the streets of Sao Paulo state, where he would kick a sock stuffed with newspapers or rags.

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