Abedi Ayew, more professionally known as Abedi Pele is a Ghanaian and African legend from the 1980’s and 90’s. He was nicknamed “Pele” as his abilities and skills were compared to that of Brazilian legend Pele. His rise to fame was predominately with French Ligue 1 clubs Lille OSC and Olympique Marseille. You may have heard of his famous son’s Andre Ayew who currently plays for Olympique Marseille and Jordan Ayew who also used to play for Olympique Marseille but has been recently bought by Ligue 1 club Lorient. Abedi also has a third lessor known son Ibrahim Ayew who plays his football in the Ghana Premier League with Asante Kotoko.
Abedi was born on November 5, 1964 in the town of Kibi and was raise in Dome a town on the outskirts of the city Accra. Abedi was one of the first African players to put Africa on the map in the football world. He was also one of the first Africans to play for European clubs in Switzerland, Germany, Italy and France. Abedi left his native Ghana to join Qatari club Al Sadd after a very successful 1982 African Cup of Nations in which Ghana won the tournament for a transfer fee of just $1,000. Abedi would have numerous spells with other teams such as FC Zurich in Switzerland, Dragons L’Oueme, Real Tamale United; both back in Ghana and Mulhouse a fourth tier French club. He signed his first spell with Olympique Marseille in 1987 where he only made 9 appearances and 0 goals from 1987 to 1988-89. He was later transferred to Lille OSC in 1988-89 where he made a total of 61 appearances and scored 16 goals altogether. He was then transferred back to Olympique Marseille in 1990 and had his best run from 1990 to 1993. He made a total of 103 appearances and scored 23 goals. After that he had spells with Lyon of France, Torino of Italy where he received the best foreign player award in Serie A. Lastly he played for German outfit 1860 Munich. He would later move to the UAE club Al Ain where he appeared a total of 31 times and scored an impressive 28 goals. Abedi Pele also appeared for the Ghanian national team 73 times and scored a total of 33 goals making him the Country’s top goal scorer until it was broken by follow countrymen Asamoah Gyan. He also won the 1982 Africans Cup of Nations, but sadly he did not feature for Ghana at any of the World Cup’s.
Abedi Pele is probably the most decorated African player of all time. He has won the best player award at the 1992 African Cup of Nation, he has won the BBC African Sports Star of the Year award for an impressive two times. He has won the Confederation Of African Football award two times, the France Football Magazine African Player of the Year award three times. He had a top placing in the FIFA World Player of the Year voting in 1991 and in 1992. Finally he was the “Man of the match” in Marseille’s first and only win in the Champions League final beating AC Milan 1 to 0.
Abedi Pele is considered Ghana’s best ever player and amongst the very best of all time for the African continent. He is a legend in his own right as being one of the first Africans to play in Europe which paved the way for African legends such as Drogba, Eto’o Essien, Mikel and even his own sons. He will always be remembered as one of the greatest Africans to ever grace the game and one great football Ambassador.