Former Ghana and Cameroon coach Otto Pfister has named Olympique Marseille legend Abedi Ayew Pele and former Barcelona ace Samuel Eto’o as the biggest players he has ever managed.
The German tactician spent two years with the Black Stars, guiding the team to the final of the of the 1992 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in Senegal. He also led the Indomitable Lions from 2007 and 2009, helping the outfit to make the 2008 Afcon climax.
Abedi, an Afcon winner with Ghana, is highly celebrated for inspiring Marseille to win the Champions League in 1993 while Eto’o twice won Afcon and thrice lifted the Champions League.
“Samuel Eto’o and Abedi Pele absolutely on top,” Pfister, who also coached Senegal, Togo, Rwanda, Cote d’Ivoire, Zaire and Saudi Arabia, told Citi FM.
“But you cannot say Abedi is better than Eto’o or Eto’o is better than Abedi because [they don’t play in] the same position.
“Samuel Eto’o was a top striker, at his time he was one of the best strikers in the world.
“But Abedi Pele for me in his position was a genius. He was so strong, he had skills, he had anticipation, he can score.
“He was truly at the time one of the best playmakers in the world. Abedi was to me a wonder player.”
Abedi indeed has an illustrious career as he won the Afcon with Ghana in 1982 and the Champions League with French side Olympique Marseille in 1992-1993.
Abedi also won the French league twice with Marseille as well as the UAE Pro-League and President’s Cup with Al Ain.
At an individual level, he claimed the Africa Footballer of the Year award on three occasions, one of his many personal honours.
Abedi rated fifth in the Top 30 African Footballers in the last 50 years released by the Confederation of African Football (Caf) in 2007.
Eto’o won the Afcon title in 2000 and 2002 in addition to clinching gold at the 2000 Olympic Games.
At club level, the striker’s first major success was winning the Spanish Copa del Rey with Real Mallorca in 2002-03, having cut ties with Real Madrid who brought him from Cameroon as a youth team player. While with Real, he also had loan stints with Leganes and Espanyol.
Eto’o joined Barcelona in 2004 and would go on to win the Spanish league title on three occasions, the Copa del Rey in 2009, the Spanish Super Cup twice and the Champions League in 2005-06 and 2008-09.
In 2009, the 39-year-old transferred to Italian fold Inter Milan, with whom he won a quintuple of trophies (Serie A title, Coppa Italia, Italian Super Cup, Champions League and Fifa Club World Cup) in 2010.
On an individual level, Eto’o, who stands as the all-time top scorer at Afcon with 18 goals, and also as the all-time top scorer for Cameroon and Real Mallorca, won the African Footballer of the Year awards in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2010. He finished third in the race for the 2005 Fifa World Best Player award. These are only a few of his many individual accolades.