Sports Features of Tuesday, 24 June 2014
Jordan Ayew is a rather fortunate 22-year-old.
His father Abedi Ayew and older brother Andre have represented Ghana with glowing distinction, and both share such high opinions of him.
He already plays for his country's national team, has two World Cup matches under his belt, and has been groomed at Olympique Marseille, traditionally one of Europe's top clubs.
For all the reasons above, it is quite surprising Jordan hasn't yet matured into the kind of footballer he really ought to be, given his remarkable talent and the resources available to steer him straight to the top.
While his gifts - notably pace and artistry - are easily apparent when he takes on opponents, Jordan's decision-making could often be as poor as anything you'd expect from an amateur.
In the opinion of this writer, it isn't as much a dearth of ideas when in the final third as it is a lack of conviction; refer to his tame, half-hearted shot on the USA goal when Ghana trailed 1-0 just before half-time a week ago in Natal.
The less generous of Jordan's detractors opt to interpret it as a semblance of the naivety and inordinate desire to linger on the ball that plagued Andre Ayew during his own formative years, particularly at the Africa Cup of Nations in 2008.
But while 'Dede' matured speedily and had his flaws ironed out - he led Ghana's Under-20s to global glory just a year later - by the time he kissed his teens goodbye, Jordan is still grappling with the ropes.
Against Germany on Saturday, after replacing Kevin-Prince Boateng and with Ghana up 2-1, Jordan had the opportunity to be toasted by supplying skipper Asamoah Gyan the assist that would almost certainly have fetched Ghana a third goal to secure a famous comeback victory. Instead he opted for greater glory, one he ultimately proved incapable and undeserving of. Rather than lay a simple pass to send Gyan through on goal – hopefully -, Jordan hesitated, cut in, and struck low from a tight angle. German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer collected the effort with ease while, just yards away, Gyan's arms flailed in desperation.
You probably reacted same, didn't you?
And what was Jordan's excuse?
"After making that long solo run," he explained post-match, "I was so tired when I got to the goal area."
Tiredness? In such a big game? When you had been on the pitch for barely a dozen minutes?
It summed up what - contrary to the occasional consistency of brilliance that saw him notch a fine hat-trick against South Korea just prior to the World Cup - flummoxes many, critics and admirers alike, about the youngster.
At an age when Andre had begun assuming a leading role for the Black Stars and earning his countrymen's trust, Jordan fails to deliver when it matters most and cites flimsy reasons for his failings.
On current evidence, he couldn't be farther from fulfilling his admittedly enormous potential.