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Abedi Pele

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Title: Abedi Pele  
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Subject: African Footballer of the Year, 1992 African Cup of Nations, Ghana national football team, El Hadji Diouf, Ghana Player of the Year
Collection: 1964 Births, 1982 African Cup of Nations Players, 1992 African Cup of Nations Players, 1996 African Cup of Nations Players, 1998 African Cup of Nations Players, African Footballer of the Year Winners, Al Ain Fc Players, Al Sadd Sc Players, As Dragons Fc De L'Ouémé Players, Association Football Midfielders, Bundesliga Players, Chamois Niortais F.C. Players, Companions of the Order of the Volta (Ghana), Expatriate Footballers in Benin, Expatriate Footballers in France, Expatriate Footballers in Germany, Expatriate Footballers in Italy, Expatriate Footballers in Qatar, Expatriate Footballers in the United Arab Emirates, Fc Mulhouse Players, Fifa 100, Ghana International Footballers, Ghanaian Expatriate Footballers, Ghanaian Expatriates in Italy, Ghanaian Football Personalities, Ghanaian Footballers, Ligue 1 Players, Lille Osc Players, Living People, Okwawu United Players, Olympique De Marseille Players, Olympique Lyonnais Players, Qatar Stars League Players, Real Jaén Footballers, Real Tamale United Players, Serie a Players, Sportspeople from Accra, Torino F.C. Players, Tsv 1860 München Players
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Abedi Pele


Abedi Ayew ( ) (born 5 November 1964), known professionally as Abedi Pele, is a retired Ghanaian footballer who served as captain of the Ghana national team. He is considered by many African football experts to be the greatest African footballer of all time.[1] He found fame in France's Ligue 1 with Lille OSC and Olympique Marseille.

Three of his sons, Ibrahim, André and Jordan have also become internationals for Ghana; Ibrahim and André were selected for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, while André and Jordan played at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Early life

Ayew was born into a family in the town of Kibi and grew up in the town of Dome at the northern outskirts of the city Accra.[2]

Playing career

Abedi Pele was one of the pioneers of African football in Europe. Abedi Pele was one of the first great African players to make an impact on European club football, he played for teams in Switzerland, Germany, Italy and most famously France where he was very instrumental in Marseille's prominence in the European Champions League during the early 1990s. Amongst his international accolades, he was often included in FIFA "All-Star" selections and captained the African All-Stars in their victory over their European counterparts in the Meridian Cup of 1997.

He left Ghana after the 1982 African Cup of Nations to join Al Sadd in Qatar for a transfer fee of $1,000.[3] After a short spell with FFC Zürich in Switzerland he returned to Ghana but, after both Kotoko and Hearts of Oak failed to sign him, joined AS Dragons FC de l'Ouémé of Benin. He would later return to Ghana and play for Real Tamale United for a season. He started his career in Europe with French association football club Chamois Niort, subsequently joining Montpellier and Lille before transferring to Olympique Marseille. He later joined Lyon. He also played for Torino of Italy, where he was named Best Foreign Player in Serie A and finally rounded out his European career with 1860 München.

Abedi Pele went on to sign a two-year contract with Al Ain Club in the United Arab Emirates and was nominated one of the best foreign players to play in the UAE league.

He was the captain of Ghana's national football team for six years (1992–1998) and was one of the first African football players to earn a top placing in FIFA World Player of the Year voting in 1991 and 1992. He is arguably Africa's most decorated and honoured football player ever, winning the France Football Magazine African Player of the Year Award three times, was the inaugural winner of the BBC African Sports Star of the Year in 1992, and the corresponding Confederation of African Football award twice. He was also awarded the golden ball award for being the best player at the 1992 African Cup of Nations, and was the "man of the match" in Marseille's historic European Champions League final win over Milan in 1993.

Abedi Pele played for Ghana 73 times and is considered the greatest football player in his country's history, and among the best in Africa. Until 7 June 2013 when he was surpassed by Asamoah Gyan, he was the top goal scorer for Ghana's Black Stars with 33 goals. He was a fixture in the African Championships of the 1980s and 90s with his national team, and a member of Ghana's victorious team in the 1982 African Cup of Nations, but he never had an opportunity to play in the FIFA World Cup, as the Black Stars failed to qualify for the competition during his career. However, he was arguably the most dominant figure on the African football scene for nearly a decade. His performance in the 1992 African Cup of Nations is often cited as one of the most outstanding football displays by any player in a single tournament. His native Ghana reached the finals of the Cup that year, only to lose on penalties in the final to Côte d'Ivoire after Abedi was suspended because of a Yellow card he received in the semi-final match against Nigeria. Prior to that, his three spectacular goals against Zambia, Congo and Nigeria proved crucial in putting Ghana through to their seventh appearance in a CAN final – and their first final in ten years. The performance earned him the added nickname of "The African Maradona". His solo run goal against Congo in the quarterfinals is often compared to Maradona's second goal against England in the 1986 World Cup. His backheader goal against Nigeria from the edge of the opponent's penalty box also heralded international acclaim.

Abedi Ayew Pele, three-times winner of the African Footballer of the Year award; with Black Stars' trophy of the Africa Cup of Nations.[4]

Abedi holds the record for most appearances at the Nations Cup Finals, his record even surpassing the legendary Roger Milla of Cameroon. He made his first appearance at the 13th Nations Cup Finals in Libya in 1982 and for the next 16 years (ending at the 21st Finals in Burkina Faso) continued to grace the most prestigious football tournament on the continent, first as a member of Ghana's squad rising to become captain in 1991. Aside from his acclaimed exploits at the 1992 competition, Abedi also earned much acclaim for his three goals at the 1996 competition – where he led Ghana to the semifinals of the competition despite critics expecting him to be in the twilight of his career.

At the club level, he was a key figure in Olympique de Marseille's dominance of the French league – resulting in four league championships and two European Champions League finals appearances. An attacking midfielder, Abedi became as famous for his sublime dribbling skills as he did for his knack for scoring spectacular and often very important goals. Many such goals became regular "Goals of the Week" on ITN's weekly "European Football" program. At Marseille, he was a member of the team's "Magical Trio", along with Jean-Pierre Papin and Chris Waddle – spearheading perhaps Europe's strongest league side of the early 1990s. Abedi was the only remaining member of the trio still with the side when Marseille defeated Milan in the 1993 UEFA Champions League Final in Munich.

Ayew has the singular honour of participating in more FIFA organized charity matches than any other African player. He is very popular in many African countries, especially the French-speaking countries because of his exploits in France. In countries such as Nigeria and South Africa, football fans still wear T-shirts bearing his name. He has become one of the continent’s most respected and important ambassadors. Abedi Pele is a member of FIFA's Football Committee, and of the player status committees of both FIFA and CAF. That explains why the South African FA made him a Spokesperson for their 2006 World Cup bid. Abedi is considered one of the best players in World History not to have appeared at the FIFA World Cup, and perhaps the greatest African football player ever.

In appreciation of Abedi's devout services to the country, the Ghanaian government awarded him the country's highest honour, the Order of the Volta (civil division). He thus becomes the first Ghanaian sportsman to be so honoured.

On 29 January 1997, the first UEFA-CAF Meridian Cup All-Star Match between Europe and Africa was played in S.L. Benfica's Estádio da Luz in Lisbon, Portugal and was televised in 100 countries worldwide, including 30 in Africa, for an audience of 60 million viewers. Former Olympique de Marseille midfielder Abedi Pele was on target with a stunning goal early in the first half and, after Vincent Guérin had equalised for Europe just before half-time, it was the 1998 African Player of the Year, Mustapha Hadji, who struck Africa’s 78th-minute winner in the 2–1 win.[5]

After retirement

CAF-UEFA All Star

In 2001, the UEFA-CAF Meridian Cup All-Star Match format was changed slightly for the second All-Star Match to bring together great players aged between 35 and 45 who now revel in their ‘veteran’ status and play the game purely for pleasure. The squad sparked off memories of great footballing moments at club and international level[5]

Football Ambassador

In June 2001 he was nominated by the present government of Ghana to serve as the next Chairman of the FA, an opportunity he later gave up for a more experienced former coach of Ghana for which in his own words said that this was to be an opportunity to learn from his superiors.

At present he owns a second division club, called Nania F.C., with the future hopes of nurturing the young talent to augment the fledging league of the country. He has also been involved with various Charity work across the Continent.

Controversy

He was recently embroiled in a serious alleged Second Division Promotion Play-off bribery scandal[6] for which the Football Association found him and others guilty. The guilty verdict attracted fines and suspensions of Abedi and others, but these have been quashed by the Appeals Committee of the Football Association after determining that there were irregularities in the initial judgement[7] of the Ghana Football Association. The allegations stem from an astonishing 31–0 victory[8] recorded by his club, Nania FC over a much respected Okwawu United side. A similarly farcical 28–0 result[9] was recorded in another second division match played between Great Mariners and Tudu Mighty Jets on the same weekend. The clubs involved in that Second Division Promotion Play-off Zone III match were also investigated and subject to the prospect of stiff penalties and demotions. Despite his vehement denials,[10] Abedi had been chastised by some members of the Ghanaian media, who were demanding that strong punitive actions be taken against him, by Ghana's football governing body as well as the legal system.[11] His wife Maha Ayew was on 3 November 2008 banned from football against this Manipulations Scandal.[12]

Domestic League statistics

[13]

Club Season
Apps Goals
Real Tamale United 1980 11 0
1981 12 7
1982 23 14
Al Sadd 1982–83 8 7
Zürich 1983–84 18 9
Dragons l'Ouémé 1984 8 11
Real Tamale United 1985 19 7
Chamois Niortais 1986–87 32 14
Mulhouse 1987–88 16 5
Marseille 1987–88 5 0
1988–89 4 0
Lille 1988–89 24 7
1989–90 37 9
Marseille 1990–91 32 5
1991–92 36 12
1992–93 35 6
Lyon 1993–94 29 3
Torino 1994–95 32 10
1995–96 17 1
1860 München 1996–97 25 1
1997–98 25 1
Al Ain 1998–99 20 17
1999–00 11 11
Career Totals 479 157

Major Honors and awards

Club

Olympique de Marseille
Al-Sadd
  • Prince of Qatar Cup Winner: 1983
Al Ain FC
  • AFC Champions League: Third Place - 1999
  • President's Cup: 1999
  • Pro-League: 1999-2000

[14]

International

Ghana

Individual

Orders

Personal

Abedi is the brother of Kwame and Sola Ayew (ex-Hearts of Oak and Black Meteors). He is also the father of André, Jordan, Rahim, Imani, and is married with Maha. Two of his children Andre and Rahim represented Ghana in the FIFA 2010 World Cup held in South Africa. Jordan and Andre represented Ghana in the FIFA 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

References

  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ Majd, Hooman, The Ayatollah Begs to Differ : The Paradox of Modern Iran, by Hooman Majd, Doubleday, 2008, 197
  3. ^
  4. ^

External links

  • Biography



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