LUANDA: Seldom does a player languishing in the backwaters of the French second division hog the international headlines but then Andre Ayew is no average player.
Dede Ayew sent Ghana into the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals with his first half goal against Burkina Faso on Tuesday to do his famous father proud.
Ayew senior, Abedi Pele Ayew, was the pivotal figure in Ghana s last Africa Cup of Nations title winning side in 1982. Twenty-eight years on his son could emerge as the Black Stars hero.
Dede struck with a fine header in the 30th minute to save Ghana from the disgrace of becoming the first of the five World Cup qualifiers competing in Angola not to make it past the first round.
His goal, greeted with jubilation by fans back home, sent Ghana into a last eight match-up with the hosts at Luanda s November 11 Stadium on Sunday.
The Ayew family are pivotal in the history of football in Ghana.
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 in 1993.
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.
Dede s older brother Ibrahim, a midfielder with Egyptian giants Zamalek, came on as a second half substitute against Burkina Faso, and another brother, 18-year-old Jordan, is also at Marseille.
Dede skippered Ghana s team to win Africa s youth title last year in Rwanda, scoring two goals, and with a raft of senior Ghana stars like Michael Essien injured he took centre stage here on Tuesday.
The 20-year-old is on Marseille s books but is currently on loan at second division AC Arles-Avignon.
Born in France when his father was playing for Lille, the left-footed striker is a product of Marseille s youth academy – he joined the south coast superpower in 2005.
Sons of famous fathers can struggle to live up to expectations, but Ayew is determined to fulfill his destiny.
Every father wants his son to follow in his footsteps and if God permits I want to better what my father did for our country and Africa, he has said.
After Tuesday s match he cut a modest figure, telling reporters: I m very happy to help my country, we wanted to win for the fans.
Everyone thought we were going out but we showed our determination and we re still in the competition.
Now we face Angola, there s going to be even more pressure, they are the home side, but we are concentrated and we want to do well.
We have a lot of injuries in the team. It ll be tough playing Angola in Luanda but we will follow the coach s instructions.
Ghana s Serb coach Milovan Rajevac said the injuries to key players like Michael Essien were giving Ghana youngsters like Dede the chance to shine.
We ve had a lot of problems with injuries throughout the entire team, some before the competition and others like Essien during it.
We ve got big problems but this is a good opportunity for young players, they need to prove themselves, we believe in them.