On November 5, 1964, God gave Ghana Abedi Ayew Pele.
And in return, the mercurial former Black Stars striker gave Ghana his adorable sons — Andre and Jordan Ayew.
The Ashanti people of Ghana say; “When you follow in the path of your father, you learn to walk like him.” And to Andre and Jordan, they are truly walking in the path of their father, Abedi.
It takes great steps to emulate a giant, but the two brothers seem to be doing just fine. They might not be at the same pedestal as their father, but it will not take long before they do. Their contribution in this year’s Africa Cup of Nations has not gone unnoticed, more so Andre.
He has two goals to his name, both penalties and has been a constant threat to his markers. His talent and that of his 26-year-old brother have been fostered in the shade of their father, no doubt.
And with captain Asamoah Gyan nursing an injury, the Ayew brothers have been steadying Ghana’s ship with admirable finesse. They were responsible for Ghana’s qualification to the last four after each scored in that 2-1 victory over Democratic Republic of the Congo in the quarterfinals.
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“Jordan is having a good tournament. He is running a lot and his performance is impressing,” said Ghana coach Avram Grant.
They now meet Cameroon in the first semi-final tonight at 10pm in what promises to be a match filled with flamboyance and elegance. But the Black Stars are ready to shine again and will be looking at their impressive head-to-head form against the Indomitable Lions for encouragement.
In their last seven meetings, Ghana has won three times, drawn thrice and lost only once; 1-0 in the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations semi-final.
And tonight’s date will feel more of a rematch and a chance for a Ghana revenge. In 2008, substitute Alain Mosely Nkong required just 11 minutes to settle matters for Cameroon.
So, have the roles changed nine years later?
“It will be very tough against Cameroon. They played well against Senegal and that shows they are strong,” Grant said.
Andre is the only survivor from that 2008 team. That they face a Cameroon side, which is playing lively and eye-catching football, only compounds matters for Ghana.
But if it is for previous accolades, both teams have won the Africa Cup of Nations four times each, with Cameroon winning in 2002. Ghana have finished second more than any other team in the tournament’s history; five times. Cameroon were second in 1986 and 2008.
Since Ghana last won their title in 1982, it has been near misses for the Black Stars, while The Indomitable Lions won in 1984, 1988, 2000 and 2002.
But history will surely count for nothing when these two giants meet as Cameroon turn to their youthful goalkeeper Fabrice Ondoa.
“He does not have play time at top-flight level, yet he has been phenomenal to us. He has shown great character when most required. What drives him is his great discipline and hunger for results,” said Cameroon coach Hugo Broos.