Andre Ayew of Ghana, centre, leads Ghana goal celebration after his brother Jordan Ayew (not in picture) scored against DR Congo during the 2017 African Cup of Nations. Gavin Barker / EPA
Andre Ayew of Ghana, centre, leads Ghana goal celebration after his brother Jordan Ayew (not in picture) scored against DR Congo during the 2017 African Cup of Nations. Gavin Barker / EPA

Africa Cup of Nations: Andre and Jordan Ayew keeping Ghana dynasty near the top



Jordan Ayew has enjoyed two promotions in the past few days. He has gone from Championship footballer in the English club game, to Premier League player, thanks to his winter window transfer from Aston Villa to Swansea City.

He approved the move from long distance and will hope his debut for his new club is delayed beyond this weekend.

That is because his other promotion was with his national team, Ghana, for whom he is doing duty in Gabon at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Last Sunday, as talks advanced towards fruition between Villa and Swansea, Jordan Ayew was zipping his way past two Congolese defenders to score the first Ghana goal in the 2-1 Nations Cup last-eight win that put the Black Stars into tonight’s semi-final in Franceville against Cameroon.

Ghana needed Jordan Ayew to produce something special like that, given that their leading striker and captain Asamoah Gyan was missing with injury.

“Jordan did a fantastic job for us,” beamed Avram Grant, Ghana’s manager, who hopes to have Gyan available in Franceville.

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That need not mean Jordan Ayew’s demotion from the first XI. The Black Stars look a stronger attacking unit with a pair of Ayews in the side. Andre Ayew, who took over the captaincy from the absent Gyan, scored the winning goal against DR Congo.

Indeed, it has been too often in the past 35 years than Ghana, who play their sixth consecutive Nations Cup semi-final on , have not been better for having an Ayew or two in their line-up.

Andre, 27, and younger brother, Jordan, 25, are part of an extraordinary sporting dynasty that stretches across several branches of a very special sporting family tree.

At the top of it is Abedi Pele Ayew, whose career with Ghana spanned 16 years. He won the European Cup with Olympique Marseille and was three times named African Footballer of the Year in the 1990s. His brothers, Kwame and Sola represented Ghana, and the former enjoyed a distinguished career with various European clubs.

If their fraternity had an unusual concentration of talent, then it was matched by the next generation.

Abedi’s son Rahim Ayew was part of the Ghana squad that reached the quarter-final of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. So was Rahim’s younger half brother, Andre, whose displays won him acclaim as one of the tournament’s brightest young prospects.

The influence of Abedi inevitably shaped the careers of the sons. As Andre Ayew told this writer, “We had a privileged upbringing because of our father.”

He and Jordan grew up largely in France, where Abedi’s club career reached its peak, and both were enrolled young at Marseille. Andre and Jordan shared a home there.

They have a habit of following in one another’s footsteps. They moved from France to English football at the same time, in 2015.

Jordan moved to Villa, then in the Premier League, and Andre to Swansea, a club he has recommended to his little brother even though he left there to join West Ham United seven months ago.

The legacy of their father is a powerful spur, too.

Abedi Pele, a little more attacking than Andre and trickier on the ball than Jordan, is widely regarded as Ghana’s greatest player of the past 40 years. But three of his sons have achieved something he did not, which was to go to a World Cup.

Two of his sons now stand 180 minutes from emulating what Abedi did as a 17-year-old substitute back in 1982 – victory in a Cup of Nations final.

Both Andre and Jordan have also known the heartbreak Abedi suffered with the Black Stars.

Their father played in three semi-finals in all, and he was cruelly suspended from the final in 1992, when Ghana lost on penalties to the Ivory Coast.

When Andre and Jordan were on the losing team – on penalties and against Ivory Coast – in the final two years ago, Andre broke down in floods of tears.

He was so distraught he seemed to be crying for an entire family, a dynasty.

Semi-finals in UAE time

• Burkina Faso v Egypt, Wednesday, 11pm

• Cameroon v Ghana, Thursday, 11pm

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Day 5, Abu Dhabi Test: At a glance

Moment of the day When Dilruwan Perera dismissed Yasir Shah to end Pakistan’s limp resistance, the Sri Lankans charged around the field with the fevered delirium of a side not used to winning. Trouble was, they had not. The delivery was deemed a no ball. Sri Lanka had a nervy wait, but it was merely a stay of execution for the beleaguered hosts.

Stat of the day – 5 Pakistan have lost all 10 wickets on the fifth day of a Test five times since the start of 2016. It is an alarming departure for a side who had apparently erased regular collapses from their resume. “The only thing I can say, it’s not a mitigating excuse at all, but that’s a young batting line up, obviously trying to find their way,” said Mickey Arthur, Pakistan’s coach.

The verdict Test matches in the UAE are known for speeding up on the last two days, but this was extreme. The first two innings of this Test took 11 sessions to complete. The remaining two were done in less than four. The nature of Pakistan’s capitulation at the end showed just how difficult the transition is going to be in the post Misbah-ul-Haq era.


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