Arua Hill SC to name stadium after Pele following FIFA directive 

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By Morris Rawal

The good news popping in indicates, Arua Hill Complex Stadium that is at 75 percent completion shall be renamed Pele Stadium.

The multi-purpose sports and business complex is located next to the Arua City Monument at the roundabout on Pakwach Road in Arua City.

The $12m (Shs 43 billion) complex that sits on 9.7 acres of land has been under construction for three years. 

On completion, it will be a 20,000 seater with a vast business park. 

According to the authorities, this kind of setting is intended to ensure the stadium’s financial viability beyond football.

Arua Hill stadium will also double as the home field for Arua Hill Sports Club, the newly promoted Uganda Premier League team.

The business park will consist of a modern football stadium with artificial turf, two, three, and four-star hotel blocks, volleyball, netball, basketball, and tennis courts as well as a 25m swimming pool among other amenities.

The Phillip Omondi Stadium -home to KCCA FC- in Kampala is named after their Club Legend Phillip Omondi, who is said to have been one of the greatest midfielders of his generation by faithfuls.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino said  that world football’s governing body will ask every single country with affiliation to name a stadium in honor of late legend Pelé.

The Brazilian great died  at the age of 82 after battling cancer.

“We are going to ask every country in the world to name one of their football stadiums with the name of Pelé,” said Infantino to reporters in Sao Paulo. “I am here with a lot of emotion, sadness, but also with a smile because he gave us so many smiles. As FIFA, we will pay a tribute to the ‘King’ and we ask the whole world to observe a minute of silence.”

Rio de Janeiro had previously planned to rename the iconic Maracana Stadium after Pelé but it was nixed by local government back in April of 2021.

“For everyone who loves the beautiful game, this is the day we never wanted to come,” read Infantino’s statement immediately after the legend passed away. “The day we lost Pelé. He had a magnetic presence and, when you were with him, the rest of the world stopped. His life is about more than soccer. He changed perceptions for the better in Brazil, in South America and across the world. His legacy is impossible to summarize in words.”

In addition to his three FIFA World Cup titles with Brazil and numerous records, he also helped to bring soccer to the U.S. when he joined New York Cosmos for a spell between 1975-77 at the end of his career.

Pele was laid to rest on Tuesday last week following a private funeral at the Necropole Ecumenica Memorial Cemetery in the city of Santos, Brazil.

Before his final internment, a 24-hour wake was held in honor of the late football legend.

Mourners lined the streets as Pele’s body was transported in a black coffin around the city before moving him to his final resting place.

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