Rahim Ayew, first son of Ghana football legend, Abedi Pele Ayew emerged hero as the Black Stars held their Zimbabwean counterparts to a 2-2 draw on Monday in their Group B opener at the maiden edition of the African Nations Championship (CHAN) at Buoake, Cote d'Ivoire.
The Eleven Wise midfielder scored a goal in each half as the Stars salvaged a draw in the opening match against a Zimbabwean side, whose performance stunned all at the Stade de la Paix in Bouake, Cote d'Ivoire's second largest city.
The performance of the Zimbabweans maintains the trend as underdogs as they take centre stage at the competition designed exclusively for footballers playing in their country of birth.
Midfielder Karuru Ovidy opened the scores against the run of play on 11 minutes with a header that beat Ghana goalie Philemon McCarthy following a cross from the left flank.
The Ghanaians reorganized but the closest they came to drawing equal was four minutes later but Zimbabwe goalie Willard Manyatera dealt with Habib Mohammed's long range effort.
Nine minutes to the recess, Dynamo's striker Philip Marufu authenticated his side's lead as he intercepted a headed pass from Ayew intended for goalkeeper McCarthy to fire past the latter to record the second goal for the Zimbabweans.
The Zimbabweans exposed the Ghanaian defence with Samuel Inkoom almost a passenger while the partnership of Ofosu Appiah, Dan Yeboah and Godwin Osei Bonsu at the centre failed to click.
Ayew, who until the blunder had been one of the busiest players on the field, reduced the deficit from a goalmouth action just before half time.
Twelve minutes into the second half, the Eleven Wise midfielder drew parity with a shot that was surprisingly forced into the net by keeper Manyetera.
The Ghanaians had to play the last five minutes with ten men after Ofosu Appiah was given the marching off orders following a second bookable offence and the numerical advantage almost worked for the South Africans.
Marufu, who remained a threat on the Ghanaian rear tore the defence up side out any time he had the ball but was unlucky to see his goal-bound shot on the stroke of full time miss by inches.
Libya lost 0-2 to DR Congo in the other Group B match.
Earlier in the opening match on Sunday, Zambia stunned hosts Cote d'Ivoire 3-0 while Tanzania also put up a spirited performance against Senegal despite losing 0-1, all in Group A.
Ghana-Philemon McCarthy, Samuel Inkoom, Habib Mohamed, Ofosu Appiah, Osei Bonsu, Daniel Yeboah, Edmund Owusu Ansah, Emmanuel Agyemang Badu, Rahim Ayew/Isaac Owusu, Yaw Antwi/Kwadwo Poku, Francis Coffie/Stephen Manu
Zimbabwe - Manyatera Willard, Sweshe Thomas, GOMBA Carrington, Karuku Ovidy, Jambo Zhaimu, Malajila Chuthbert/Kawinge Clive, Oscar Machapa, Gilbert Banda, Philip Marufu, Pride Tafirenyinka/Kausoko Thabani