He came , he saw and he Conquered. His football greatness will not be interred with his bones. His football greatness will live forever. If indeed the world is a stage where each of us come to play a part before we depart, then Pele ‘ s part was football! To mention the name Pele is to mention football and he had a special name for it. He called it “the beautiful game”
My first introduction to the man’s greatness was through a comprehension passage from prolific writer TK Tsodzo’s book Rurimi rwaAmai Book 1 which was used by all secondary school in Zimbabwe. The title of the comprehension passage was ..”Pele Mambo Webhora !” translated to Pele , The King of Football .
It was an engrossing passage and I think even the naughtiest of students who rarely paid attention in class behaved well for once. It painted a picture of one so great that he could do anything with the ball at his feet. He could even do anything with the ball even if it was in the air. We had an image of a Super human being.
The fact that he was black and was able to dominate in a sport full of white players on the World stage from a tender age filled us with pride.
The comprehension exercise which followed the reading (nzwisiso ) was a walk in the park for the whole class. We had really enjoyed the lesson.
With time, my research made me check some of the footage and thank God for YouTube, these are easily available.
Pele was fit. Pele was skilful. Pele was a team player. He was brave, he rode tackles at a time when defenders simply went for the kill, defenders took no prisoners . In the 1966 World Cup , reports say he was kicked out of the game.
Then he returned in the 1970 World Cup. He was gold dust in a star-studded Brazil team which is regarded by many as the greatest National team ever.They passed the gritty Italians into submission by hammering them 4-1.
Then Pele retired from the International scene. Brazil waited for another 24 years before clinching their fourth World Cup in USA 1994 with Romario and Bebeto leading the attack.
His legacy will live on and may his souls rest in eternal peace.
Danai Chitakasha , is a Football writer who is keen on the development of Zimbabwe Football. He has worked with the legendary Japhet Mparutsa to pen his autobiography:Japhet Shortcat Mparutsa, My Story.
The book broke new ground as it was the first autobiography by a Zimbabwe local based footballer. Before this , only Bruce Grobelaar had written a biography. Danai is also the author of another the book ;First Cut , Memoirs of A football Fan.