Three-time African Footballer of the Year and Ghanaian legend Abedi Pele Ayew believes that the absence of the Black Stars? inspirational captain, Stephen Appiah in the upcoming African showpiece, is a blow to his homeland.
Appiah, who plays his football in Turkey is out of the Ghana African Cup of Nations after undergoing an operation in December that is going to keep him sidelined for two months.
Abedi Pele, speaking to the media at Westcliff hotel in Johannesburg yesterday afternoon, says it is a blow for the host's ambition to win the African Nations Cup with Appiah injured.
''We are worried, very worried'' says Pele.
''It is, however, an opportunity for another star to be born in Ghana. I am sure that the coach has worked on who the replacement will be he received the information at least a month before the tournament.
''One day I was listening to my son (Abedi Ayew jnr) in an interview where he was asked about Appiah. My son suggested the jersey number 10 should not be worn in the upcoming tournament and I think that was an intelligent answer. It shows how influential and important Appiah is in Ghana,? says the former Black Stars? No 10.
Pele was reluctant to talk about his son who chose to play for Ghana despite being born in France.
''It is difficult to talk about my son. One thing I can tell you though is that he is very dedicated to the game. I remember that in France they wanted him and they talked to me about it, but I told them that he would have to make his decision. He chose Ghana and lot of people were upset and some were of course happy by his decision.
''He chose Ghana because he said he loved the way fans cheered players in both good and bad times.
''Abedi jnr. is technically good. My worry is that his talent, like that of any young, talented player needs to be nurtured and if it is in wrong hands it will disappear,''he adds.