‘Pakistan’s Pele’ dies, aged 71


Pakistan on Saturday mourned the death of the country’s former football captain Abdul Ghafoor who was likened to Brazilian legend Pele because of their similar looks and style of play. Ghafoor died after a prolonged illness on Friday. He was 71. A midfielder of great talent, Ghafoor led Pakistan’s football team for four consecutive years in the 1960s when the country was among the best in Asia and claimed scalps including the United Arab Emirates and China. He played for the Dhaka Mohammedan Club in the former East Pakistan but also turned down offers to play for teams in countries including India, Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh. His family said Ghafoor always wanted to meet Pele, regarded by many as the best player of all time, but he did not have the money to travel. Pakistan Football Federation president Faisal Saleh Hayat offered his condolences. “I was deeply saddened by the death of Pakistani Pele. This must be very difficult for all football lovers and players,” he said in a message to the family.