RIO DE JANEIRO — Pelé’s son Edinho took over as coach of minor club Londrina on Sunday and led the team to a 1-0 win before reassuring fans his soccer legend father is “a fighter” and giving his all in the battle against cancer.
Pelé, 81, had a tumour removed from his colon in September 2021 and has been in and out of hospital for chemotherapy on a regular basis ever since.
A urinary infection meant his last stay in hospital was longer than planned, but the three-time World Cup winner is now back at home near Santos, the city and club where he made his name.
“He’s good. He is in a tough battle over his health, but my father is a fighter, just as he has been his whole life,” Edinho told reporters. “He’s still fighting. Our family prays for him a lot and we’re hoping that he will recover."
Edinho, who played in goal for Santos in the 1990s, said he was unaware if his father watched Londrina’s 1-0 win over Cianorte in the Parana state championship.
“I confess that I don’t know,” Edinho said. “But he is going to find out once I tell him. We are cheering for him to above all get well as soon as possible.”
Edinho, 51, is normally Londrina’s Under-20 coach but was in temporary charge for Sunday’s game.
He is expected to return to his normal duties next week with the arrival of a new first-team coach.
(Reporting by Andrew Downie)