Pele on Nigeria: ‘Achieving ceasefire in Biafran War my proudest moment’

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Pele once briefly stopped a war, according to (who else) Kissinger, as narrated in a 1999 Time article. He wrote that both sides in Nigeria’s civil war declared a 48-hour cease-fire in 1967 so Pelé could play an exhibition match in Lagos. Santos’ website elaborates that the region’s military governor Samuel Ogbemudia declared a holiday and opened up a bridge so that both sides could watch Pelé’s 2-1 victory over Nigeria. “We were asked to play a friendly match in Benin City, in the middle of a Civil War, but Santos was so beloved that they agreed on a ceasefire on the matchday. It became known as the day that ‘Santos stopped the war,’” Pelé tweeted in 2020. Maybe the fighting stopped, maybe it didn’t. But Pele tried.

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