Abedi Pele

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Abedi Pele
Abédi Pélé (cropped).jpg
Personal information
Full nameAbedi Ayew
Date of birth(1964-11-05) 5 November 1964 (age 49)
Place of birthKibi, Eastern Region, Ghana
Playing positionAttacking midfielder
Youth career
197?–1978Great Falcons
Senior career*
YearsTeamApps(Gls)
1980–1982Real Tamale United46(21)
1982–1983Al Sadd8(7)
1983–1984Zürich18(9)
1984Dragons l'Ouémé8(11)
1985Real Tamale United19(7)
1987Mulhouse16(5)
1987–1989Marseille9(0)
1988–1990Lille61(16)
1990–1993Marseille103(23)
1993–1994Lyon29(3)
1994–1996Torino49(11)
1996–19981860 Munich50(2)
1998–2000Al Ain31(28)
Total479(157)
National team
1982–1998Ghana67(33 [1])
Teams managed
2004–Nania F.C. (Head Coach and President)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).
 
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Abedi Pele
Abédi Pélé (cropped).jpg
Personal information
Full nameAbedi Ayew
Date of birth(1964-11-05) 5 November 1964 (age 49)
Place of birthKibi, Eastern Region, Ghana
Playing positionAttacking midfielder
Youth career
197?–1978Great Falcons
Senior career*
YearsTeamApps(Gls)
1980–1982Real Tamale United46(21)
1982–1983Al Sadd8(7)
1983–1984Zürich18(9)
1984Dragons l'Ouémé8(11)
1985Real Tamale United19(7)
1987Mulhouse16(5)
1987–1989Marseille9(0)
1988–1990Lille61(16)
1990–1993Marseille103(23)
1993–1994Lyon29(3)
1994–1996Torino49(11)
1996–19981860 Munich50(2)
1998–2000Al Ain31(28)
Total479(157)
National team
1982–1998Ghana67(33 [1])
Teams managed
2004–Nania F.C. (Head Coach and President)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Abedi Ayew (/æˈbdɪ/ /æˈjjuː/ a-BAYDI a-YEW), known professionally as Abedi Pele (born 5 November 1964) is a former Ghana International football player and captain. Having been given the nickname "Pelé" in recognition of his superior ability that evoked comparisons to Brazilian footballer Pelé, 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.

Early life[edit]

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[edit]

Abedi Pele was one of the pioneers of African football in Europe. 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 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 to not appear 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.[4]

After retirement[edit]

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[4]

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[5] 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[6] of the Ghana Football Association. The allegations stem from an astonishing 31–0 victory[7] recorded by his club, Nania FC over a much respected Okwawu United side. A similarly farcical 28–0 result[8] 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,[9] 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.[10] His wife Maha Ayew was on 3 November 2008 banned from football against this Manipulations Scandal.[11]

Domestic League statistics[edit]

[12]

ClubSeason
AppsGoals
Real Tamale United1980110
1981127
19822314
Al Sadd1982–8387
Zürich1983–84189
Dragons l'Ouémé1984811
Real Tamale United1985197
Chamois Niortais1986–873214
Mulhouse1987–88165
Marseille1987–8850
1988–8940
Lille1988–89247
1989–90379
Marseille1990–91325
1991–923612
1992–93356
Lyon1993–94293
Torino1994–953210
1995–96171
1860 München1996–97251
1997–98251
Al Ain1998–992017
1999–001111
Career Totals479157

Major Honors and awards[edit]

Club[edit]

Olympique de Marseille
Al-Sadd
Al Ain Club

International[edit]

Ghana

Individual

Orders[edit]

Personal[edit]

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.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Abedi Pelé Ghana's brightest Black Star". FIFA. Retrieved 10 October 2011. 
  2. ^ Tawiah, Augustina (6 July 2006). "Abedi Pelé Stands Tall In African Football History". Graphic Ghana News (Graphic Communications Group). Retrieved 8 April 2007. "Abedi Ayew Pelé was born and bred in a small village called Oko near Dome on 5 November 1964 in hey" [dead link]
  3. ^ "Interview with Ali Behzad" (in Arabic). al-watan.com. Retrieved 20 May 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c "All-Stars clash kick off in Bari". Meridian Cup. UEFA. 1 February 2001. Retrieved 6 April 2007. [dead link]
  5. ^ "Scandalous Middle League Results". Ghana Football. Ghanaweb. 3 April 2007. Retrieved 7 March 2007. 
  6. ^ "Suspensions Annulled". Ghana Football. Ghanaweb. 25 May 2007. Archived from the original on 27 May 2007. Retrieved 6 June 2007. 
  7. ^ "Third round results of the National Middle League". GhanaWeb. 28 March 2007. Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  8. ^ "Mariners trounce Tudu Mighty Jets 28-0". GhanaWeb. 28 March 2007. Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  9. ^ "Abedi defends 31–0 scoreline". Ghana Football. Ghanaweb. 3 April 2007. Retrieved 7 March 2007. 
  10. ^ "Maestro Of Disgrace". Ghana Football. Ghanaweb. 3 April 2007. Archived from the original on 8 April 2007. Retrieved 6 April 2007. 
  11. ^ "(SPORTS- SOCCER) LOCAL: Ayew’s wife banned from football". ghanadistricts.com. 3 November 2008. Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  12. ^ Abedi Pele at National-Football-Teams.com
  13. ^ Mohamed S. Chbaro and Mohammed Qayed (8 December 1999). "United Arab Emirates 1998/99". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. Archived from the original on 4 March 2007. Retrieved 8 April 2007. 
  14. ^ Bobrowsky, Josef (21 December 2000). "African Player of the Year 1991". RSSSF. Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  15. ^ Pierrend, José Luis (5 January 2001). "African Player of the Year 1992". RSSSF. Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  16. ^ Pierrend, José Luis (5 January 2001). "African Player of the Year 1993". RSSSF. Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  17. ^ Pierrend, José Luis (29 November 2012). "World Player of the Year - Winners". RSSSF. Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  18. ^ Stokkermans, Karel (30 January 2000). "Africa – Player of the Century". RSSSF. Archived from the original on 9 May 2007. Retrieved 7 April 2007. 
  19. ^ "CAF release 30 best African players in the last 50 years". Official website. Confederation Africaine de Football. 20 February 2007. Archived from the original on 3 April 2007. Retrieved 7 April 2007. 
  20. ^ Pierrend, José Luis (14 February 2000). "African Player of the Year 1985". RSSSF. Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  21. ^ Pierrend, José Luis (14 February 2000). "African Player of the Year 1986". RSSSF. Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  22. ^ Pierrend, José Luis (14 February 2000). "African Player of the Year 1987". RSSSF. Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  23. ^ Pierrend, José Luis (6 March 2008). "African Player of the Year". RSSSF. Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  24. ^ Pierrend, José Luis (20 December 2000). "African Player of the Year 1989". RSSSF. Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  25. ^ Pierrend, José Luis (20 December 2000). "African Player of the Year 1990". RSSSF. Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  26. ^ Leme de Arruda, Marcelo (17 July 2012). "FIFA XI´s Matches - Full Info". RSSSF. Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  27. ^ "WAFUNIF/FUTBOLMASTERS Special Advisory Honorary Committee for the Futbol 4 Peace & Development Programme/Campaign" (pdf). Futbol 4 Peace & Development members list. The World Association of Former United Nations Internes and Fellows (WAFUNIF). Retrieved 8 April 2007. 

External links[edit]