By Emmanuel Obe
The sun has finally set on the world of Pele (Edson Arantes Do Nascimento), the most celebrated ambassador of football, the most popular sport in the universe.
He was 82 and had endured several weeks on his bed after being treated for a terminal cancer before he passed on.
The daily tidbits on his health status ensured that everyone kept tab on his progression to immortality until the curtain finally fell on Thursday.
It was a defining moment for lovers of football and indeed the world of sports as the death of Pele came after the conclusion of the historical 2022 World Cup held in Qatar that ended the long drawn contest between Lionel Messi of Argentina and Cristian Ronaldo of Portugal as to who would succeed Pele as the undisputed the Greatest of All Times (GOAT) in football.
Those familiar with the birth of Jesus Christ can recall the story of Simeon, the old Prophet who doubted that the messiah would come in his own generation.
He was struck dumb and waited to die only when he had beheld the arrival of Jesus Christ. After Jesus was born, Simeon held Jesus in his arms and declared that he could now depart in glory.
The biblical story is analogous to the story of Pele exiting the scene after seeing the emergence of the new living GOAT after he had held the trophy as a living GOAT for almost 70 years.
Pele’s story is a lesson for both sports people and indeed all people of venture in all areas of endeavour be it sports, politics, religion, business or family.
He was humble, exemplary and conciliatory. Never at anytime did his fame get between him and his attitude. That made him not only a great ambassador of football that was welcome anywhere in the world but also a global diplomat.
His reach and acceptance was not deterred by the colour of his skin or his nationality. His star shone so bright that no one could spot any tar on him. He was so humble that he overwhelmed race politics.
And what was more? He didn’t campaign to be noticed yet he was on the lips of everyone, even those born decades after he had retired from active football.
The story of Pele commends itself to our stars. Do your best, live for the world and posterity will judge you fairly. Adieu, the great one.