Ayew win would confirm family dynasty in Africa

Reuters , Wednesday 21 Dec 2011

Ghana winger Dede Ayew could cement his family's status as Africa's foremost soccer dynasty if he emulates his father by becoming the continent's Footballer of the Year on Thursday

Dede Ayew
Ghana's midfielder Andre Ayew (Photo: AFP)

Ayew is one of three candidates for the 2011 award to be announced in Accra, going up against Seydou Keita of Mali and Ivory Coast midfielder Yaya Toure for the accolade.

Ayew's father Abedi Pele was the first player to win the award three times, winning from 1991 to 1993 mainly for his achievements at club level with Olympique Marseille.

Ayew's successful year at the same club, plus his role in helping Ghana qualify for next year's African Nations Cup finals, see him make the short-list of candidates.

But it is more likely that his popular bow-legged running style and silky touches, strongly reminiscent of his father, has dominated the thinking of the judges who have controversially omitted several other worthy candidates.

Those missing out include Moussa Sow of Senegal, a Ligue 1 winner and top scorer with Lille, and Ivorian Gervinho, his fellow striker at the French champions before joining Arsenal.

Ayew, who was just two years old when his father was first named African Footballer of the Year, will be the sentimental favourite at the gala awards night in Ghana but he faces a strong challenge from Keita and Toure.

Mali's Keita made more appearances for Barcelona last season than any other outfield player and had a brief cameo as a late substitute in the Champions League final win over Manchester United at Wembley in May.

But the 31-year-old boycotted Mali's national team until last month in a dispute with federation officials.

Toure scored the FA Cup final winner for Manchester City against Stoke City in May and has been a regular in their ascent to the top of the English Premier League this season.

Toure, 28, also played a key role as Ivory Coast achieved the only 100 per cent record in the Nations Cup qualifiers.

If Ayew wins, he will be the second European-born player to take the award having been born in France in 1989 when his father played at Lille. Paris-born Frederic Kanoute of Mali won the award in 2007.

The African Footballer of the Year is decided by one vote from each of the 53 Confederation of African Football member associations, cast either by the national coach or technical director.

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