Why Abedi Pele was named after Brazilian Football Legend Pelè

Have you ever wondered why Abedi Ayew – one of Ghana’s greatest players ever – was named after Pelé?

The death of Brazilian and world football legend, Pelè has caused the football fraternity and fans trembling as great icon says goodbye.

Edson Arantes do Nascimento, known mononymously as Pelé, was a Brazilian professional footballer who played as a forward. Regarded as one of the greatest players of all time and labelled “the greatest” by FIFA, he was among the most successful and popular sports figures of the 20th century.

Pelé is the joint-top goalscorer for Brazil with 77 goals in 92 games. At the club level, he was Santos’ all-time top goalscorer with 643 goals in 659 games. In a golden era for Santos, he led the club to the 1962 and 1963 Copa Libertadores, and to the 1962 and 1963 Intercontinental Cup.

Abedi Ayew was born in Kibi and grew up in the town of Dome at the northern outskirts of Accra. He grew up with 18 siblings and all he ever wanted to do was just play football. He had absolutely no idea who Pelé was because he never had access to electricity and televisions.

But even at a young age, whenever Abedi is playing football in any small corner he finds himself, he realised people older than him kept shouting ‘oh Pele, he plays like Pele.’

The nickname got more popular when he attended Ghana Senior High School in Tamale and at a point, no one referred to him as Abedi Ayew. Everyone including his teachers, friends and family started to call him ‘Abedi Pelé’.

The nickname Pelé followed the attacking midfielder all the way from Ghana to some of the world’s biggest football stages, including the 1993 Champions League final where he helped lead the French club Olympique Marseille to its first ever European championship

Pelé’s legacy transcends Brazil and South America and gave Ghana and African a football icon.