The demise of Brazilian football icon, Pele on Thursday, December 29, has brought back the good memories of the football icon and the enormous impact he made in the world.
Pele lived for 82 years and used over 22 years of that to play football and the rest to serve humanity in his capacity.
One of the biggest impacts he made in the world was halting the Nigeria civil war for at least 48 hours due to the love people had for him.
How did Pele halt Nigeria’s civil war for 48 hours?
In 1967, Pele had already won two World Cup trophies and was seen as the face of the football world then.
Hence, his then-club, Santos decided to take advantage of that by embarking on a world tour.
In January of 1967, Santos’ world tour touched down in Africa, with games scheduled in The Congo, Mozambique, Ghana, Algeria, and Nigeria.
Nigeria hosted the club on 26 January 1967. But before then, the two warring parts of the country – Nigeria’s army and Biafra (the South-east part of the country) agreed to cease fire for 48 hours due to Pele’s visit.
Pele played with the country’s National team, known as the Green Eagles then, and the stadium heavily guarded by the military was filled with spectators from all parts of the country who came to watch Pele play.
The game ended in a 2-2 draw after 90 minutes of entertaining football with Pele scoring the two goals for Santos. From the start to the end of the game, there was no harassment, no arrest, and no violence in and outside the stadium.
Three years after, Pele won his record third FIFA World Cup and the Nigerian civil war officially ended.