JOHANNESBURG (AFP) - Ghana midfielder Ibrahim Ayew admitted on the eve of the African Nations Championship final against the Democratic Republic of Congo that he feels the pressure of belonging to a famous family.
Father Abedi 'Pele' Ayew was voted African Footballer of the Year three times, collected an African Nations Cup winners medal at 17 and helped Marseille become the first French holders of the European Champions League.
Uncle Kwame Ayew was a member of the first Ghana football squad to compete in the Olympics when he appeared at the 1992 Barcelona Games and younger brothers Andre and Jordan are on the books of Marseille.
"When I was called up for the Nations Championship some thought I benefitted from the status of my father. It put a lot of pressure on me but I have proved to be a decent footballer," he told reporters in Ivory Coast.
Ibrahim, 21-year-old eldest son of Abedi, plays for Ghanaian first division club Secondi Eleven Wise, making him eligible for the maiden edition of the Nations Championship tournament that caters for local-based stars only.
If Ghana confirm their favouritism and lift the trophy at the 35,000-seat Felix Houphouet-Boigny Stadium in the Ivory Coast economic capital Abidjan it will complete a wonderful start to 2009 for Ghana and the Ayew family.
Andre captained the national youth team to a 2-0 victory over Cameroon in the African final in Rwanda last month and should Ghana triumph Sunday they become the first nation to complete a clean sweep of CAF national team titles.
The country has won the African Nations Cup four times, the African youth championship thrice and the African junior championship twice while the All-Africa Games does not count being an African Union tournament.
Ibrahim has made two crucial contributions to the qualification of Ghana for a final they are expected to win having outclassed the Congolese 'Leopards' 3-0 in the mini-league phase.
He scored the brace that pegged Zimbabwe back after they stormed into a two-goal lead and in the semi-final against Senegal Ayew created the opening goal with a wide run and cross for Yaw Antwi to strike.
Ibrahim rates Jordan best of the Ayew trio: "He is a bit like Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo. He has height, pace, a lot of tricks and great ball control."
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