Abedi Pele

Former Ghana and Olympique Marseille star Abedi ‘Pele’ Ayew shed tears on national television on Sunday.

The three-time African Footballer of the Year award winner was a guest on GTV Sports Plus’ ‘Time with our Captains’ show which welcomes retired footballers as pundits for a throwback telecast of famous past games.

The 55-year-old took his turn on Sunday and as he recounted several happenings during his career ahead of a 1992 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) game between Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, he was surprised with a studio appearance of Herbert Adika, the man who discovered him as a little boy playing the beautiful game.

As Adika recounted stories about Abedi as a juvenile footballer, the latter could only welcome the nostalgia with tears.

“There are a lot of people who really made me who I am but it was a gradual process,” Abedi said in reaction.

“A lot of them are not alive today so I’m taking this particular day to remember them because when most of them passed away, I was not in the country.

“When I came I went to see the family and pay my condolences.”

Abedi enjoyed an illustrious career during which he won the Afcon with Ghana in 1982 and the Champions League with French side Olympique Marseille in 1992-1993.

At individual level, he claimed the Africa Footballer of the Year award on three occasions.

It was indeed an unusual root to greatness for Abedi, who first left Ghanaian club Real Tamale United (RTU) to Qatari side Al Sadd in 1982, moved to Swiss side FC Zurich, then to Beninese side Dragons l’Oueme before returning to RTU.

In the 1986-87 season, the attacker left for French side Niort, from where he crossed to Mulhouse. He was then snapped up by Marseille, who he represented between 1987 and 1993.

He also played for French sides Lille and Lyon, Italian fold Torino, 1860 Munich in Germany and finally Al Ain in the United Arab Emirates where he retired.

Abedi also won the French league twice with Marseille as well as the UAE Pro-League and President’s Cup with Al Ain.

He rated fifth in the Top 30 African Footballers in the last 50 years released by the Confederation of African Football (Caf) in 2007.