Faith, Love and Leadership


January 4, 2023

Pele’s Autographed Ball One Of My Most Prized Possessions — Damishi Sango

Written by David Ngobua

A former Nigeria’s Minister of Youths and Sports Development, Damishi Tonson Sango, has said the football he received as a gift from the legendary Edson Arantes Do Nacimento, otherwise known as Pele, when he hosted him in 2000 is one of his most precious possessions.

The undisputed king of football passed away on Thursday, December 29 in a hospital in Sao Paulo after a long battle with colon cancer and was interred yesterday on the ninth floor of a cemetery in his beloved home city of Santos for his final resting place.

Speaking to Daily Trust yesterday, Sango said the history of football in the world will remain incomplete without a mention of Pele.

He wondered why anyone would bother debating over who is the Greatest of All Time (GOAT) when Pele is the only one who has won three World Cups and scored nearly 1,500 goals in 1,363 games for clubs and country.

Sango said when he met face to face with Pele, the feeling was indescribable because he never knew he would have such a rare privilege.

 “Pele will live forever in the hearts of everyone. He is the undisputed king of football and will be remembered forever. Pele is the greatest player of all time and there is no argument about it.

“He scored over 1,279 goals in nearly 1,500 matches and is the only man that won three FIFA World Cup so there is none like him.

“I am grateful to God that I hosted him in 2000. When he walked into my office, I was overwhelmed by his simplicity and humility.

“The football he signed for me is still one of my most valued possessions. The special ball is among the many plaques I have in my sitting room,” he said.

Sango also said it is not too much for each country in the world to name a stadium after the legendary Pele as proposed by the president of FIFA, Gianni Infantino.

 “It is a good suggestion by the FIFA president. I don’t think it is too much to ask every country to name a stadium after Pele. It will be another way of immortalising the man who redefined football,” he said.