Claude Leroy was not high on anything when he felt Andre ‘Dede’ Ayew represented the future of Ghanaian football and hence introduced him to senior football at a tender age of 17. When Andre first played for Ghana in 2007 held at Accra, many had felt that his introduction was just a politically correct thing to do as media reports were claiming Andre had threatened to switch nationality to France.
Leroy wouldn’t listen to the critics, Ayew and some other kids were taken to the Ghana 2008 CAF African Nation Cup. The criticisms were always harsh on Andre. Somoene posted on youtube that he was simply not good they said
Yet, the football authorities knew better. Later that year, Ayew was to be named captain of Ghana’s youth team – The Black Satellites. Coming from a not-so-impressive U-17 tournament, almost the entire team had been promoted to the Youth side. The captaincy was ‘almost set in stone’ till the arrival of Andre.
A dark feeling of Déjà vu hanged all over the situation. Some 18 years ago, around the time Andre was born, his father (The Maestro Abedi ‘Pele’ Ayew) had been handed the captaincy of The Black Stars in a rather controversial. That singular act proved the undoing of the Black Stars in the 1990s.
Speculations were rife. The ‘Abedi was pushing his children on Ghanaians’ feeling was becoming popular. All the negative vibe will only bring out the fighter in Andre. His influence on the pitch grew larger than life. His skill set, although still work in progress, grew over the years. His ‘dog-fighting’ approach to the game became legendary as fans and critics watched in awe.
Today, Andre has earned the respect of his critics. The critics have so much humble pie stuffed in their mouths they can hardly speak for fear of choking on their words.
In just 3 years, Andre has risen from a fringe Olympic Marseille youth to a a key player for club and country.
This season, Ayew has already contributed 6 Ligue 1 goals in 15 games. He has scored 3 goals in 6 games to push Marseille into the second round of the 2011/2012 European Champion’s League.
This is why even his critics are voting for him as BBC African Player of the year. So should you, otherwise, you can bet he will stuff some humble pies down your throat at the 2012 Orange CAF African Cup of Nations come this January.