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Sports Features of Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Source: Ghana Sports International

Ayews return; a risky but necessary intervention

....by the President

When big egos are at war, then you bring in big deflators to check their ego trips. The announcement by brothers Andre and Jordan Ayew to return to the Black Stars should not come as a surprise at all.

Seriously, did anyone really believe that the two talented but perhaps over-pampered players would stay away from international duty any longer?

Dede Ayew quit the national team claiming he was unhappy over treatment by some of the management members of the team.

The 23-year-old was dropped from Ghana’s 2013 Africa Cup of Nations squad after failing to report early at their pre-tournament camping base in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

His younger brother Jordan Ayew also rendered his resignation insisting he wants to be guaranteed first team place after being excluded from the squad by coach Appiah.

They must be thankful to the Minister of Youth and Sports Hon Elvis Afriyie Ankrah for playing Chief Mediator even going as far as involving the President. Controversial as that might have been, the Minister made an interesting remark after the announcement at Flag Staff House by saying, ''Yes the boys have told us they want to return and that is good news. Now the coach has to decide if and when he will also call them back to his team. My job is to make sure that all key stakeholders in Ghana football unite to bring about best results''

It has now also emerged that Ambassador Ray Quarcoo was first sent as special envoy to meet the boys and their father Abedi in France three weeks ago. This was followed by another Ministerial dispatch to Germany where FA boss Kwasi Nyantakyi and Anthony Baffoe met Kevin prince Boateng and his manager on the player's possible return.

It is ''reality check'' time for the Ayew dynasty and as time was running out for them, their ambush announcement that they have returned to the Black Stars was inevitable. However, analysts have called for caution in the haste to either hail or dismiss the return of the boys. The fact of the matter is that both players are not even guaranteed an immediate call up let alone starting position in the current Black Stars team. This point was beautifully driven home by Hon Afriyie Ankrah.

Coach Kwasi Appiah will appreciate the vote of confidence from the sector Minister especially as it was widely circulated the he would be sacked following the Afcon mess. Ultimately it is he who would decide whether he needs any of the two players in his current squad.

But at least the powerful Ayew family has been forced to eat humble pie with the stark naked truth that they are no longer invincible in the scheme of things. Clearly it was a big mistake to quit in the first place; albeit temporarily to prove a point. So what next following a last ditch crisis meeting with President John Mahama on Tuesday?

The meeting itself may provide some answers because according to highly placed sources close to the players and the Presidency, the brothers calmly waited for three hours before meeting the President whose intervention has been greeted with mixed reactions by the media and general public.

Also present with the Sports Minister at the closed door talks was the third Ayew brother, Rahim, FA Vice President Fred Crentsil and seasoned Sports journalist Yaw Ampofo Ankrah who doubles as an advisor to the Minister.

The fruitful discussion will see the Olympique Marseille duo available for selection when Ghana host Zambia in the final group game of the 2014 World Cup qualifiers.

There has been no official response from the GFA President or the coach both currently in South Africa preparing for the World Cup qualifier in Maseru against Lesotho on Sunday.