The people of Africa have adopted the game of soccer and turned it almost into a religion.
The people of Africa have adopted the game of soccer and turned it almost into a religion. And the "High Priest" of football art, Pele, recently brought to life the dream of every football enthusiastic child on the continent when he gave a series of football clinics in several African countries.
The former Brazilian star is now contracted to the New York Cosmos football club in the United States of America, owned by an American soft drink company. The company arranges world wide coaching tours for the "King of Football".
One of his moist recent tours took him to Kenya, where he gave a series of football clinics for the country's most promising young footballers.
Pele said Africa was "full of football potential", but lacked international experience.
The football star said he hoped his tour would encourage other international football celebrities to tour Africa "and help bring out the best in the abundant football talent lying dormant here".
Large crowds turned out to see the clinics, but the Kenyan National Football teams failed to arrive at the ground where the clinics were being held because of a disagreement between the American soft drink firm, sponsoring Pele, and the Kenyan Football Federation.
The chairman of the Kenyan Football Federation, Mr. Ken Matiba, said there had been no liaison with the Federation by the soft drink company on the subject of arrangements for Pele's visit. He added that the Federation would provide no facilities for the football star's visit to Kenya.
For those who did attend the clinic, Pele gave them hints on physical and mental preparation for a game, and also showed them "a series of exercises aimed at tightening up the players' co-ordination".
Pele is due to fly to Uganda, Mauritius and Nigeria for a similar series of clinics.
SYNOPSIS: The man recognised as the greatest exponent of football, former Brazilian star, Pele, has arrived in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. Pele is currently on a coaching tour of several African countries. The "King of Football" is currently playing for the New York Cosmos team in the United States of America. He is being sponsored on international coaching tours by an American soft drink company.
Pele is scheduled to coach junior football teams in Kenya, Uganda, Mauritius and Nigeria. The football star said there was an abundance of football talent in Africa.
However he said the football potential there was hampered by the lack of international competition. He said the schoolchildren of Africa could now see how an International footballer should prepare himself, mentally and physically, for a match. These exercises are aimed at tightening up a player's co-ordination. For these young Kenyan footballers, meeting and being coached by Pele was a dream come true.
Pele said he hoped his tour of Africa would encourage other international soccer celebrities to tour, particularly in Africa. He said such coaching tours would assist in bringing out the best in the continent's wealth of football talent. The former Brazilian star said one of the major reasons that Africa had not made its mark in international football was the lack of professional football teams. He said that it was not possible for a youth to work hard in a job and also work hard at his football.
Although large crowds turned out to see the football expert in action, none of the Kenyan National Football teams arrived as had previously been hoped. The Chairman of the Kenyan Football Federation, Mr. Ken Matiba, said there had been no liaison between the soft drink company sponsoring Pele's visit, and the Federation. He added that the Federation were therefore providing no facilities for Pele's visit.