NEW DELHI: It was just the other day when Pele clarified that he was in no mood to contest FIFA elections. On Thursday, he batted for compatriot Zico to take over as head of the world body.
Calling the scandal a “shame”, the 74-year-old made it clear that the world body needs someone who is motivated. “Whatever is happening in FIFA is a shame. This is not due to football, but due to some people involved. Of course, we are sorry about what has happened,” the Black Pearl said, interacting with reporters on his maiden visit to the capital.
The Brazilian legend also pointed out that the world body’s image is suffering because of politicking. “Politicians at the FIFA are doing bad things. I want nice people to lead. That’s why I wouldn’t mind Zico at the helm,” he elaborated.
But then, Pele also admitted it is not always fair to lambast an organisation for a few corrupt elements. “It is easy to criticise things and say that these things have been happening in FIFA. Don’t forget that because of the FIFA, the football you see today is the most popular sport in the world.”
Even as he looked a bit concerned about Brazilian football, Pele believed things can only improve in Indian football. “There are problems in Brazil too, but we have overcome that. Indian football needs proper guidance and infrastructure. The game needs to be spread at the grassroots,” Pele said.
Day to Remember
It’s not every day that you get to interact with a living legend, and it was an evening to remember for some of India’s top athletes.
With the organisers of Subroto Cup felicitating shot putter Inderjeet Singh, race walker Manish Rawat and wrestler Narsingh Pancham Yadav, the athletes got a chance to meet Pele. And the legend too made it a point to share some interesting stories of his life with them. “It was an honour to share the stage with him.”