Sport Soccer

Tuesday 11 December 2018

Swansea striker Andre Ayew defends African players

The Ghana striker is ready to make his second Swansea debut against Burnley on Saturday.

Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United – Carabao Cup – Fourth Round – Wembley Stadium
Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United – Carabao Cup – Fourth Round – Wembley Stadium

By Phil Blanche, Press Association Sport

Striker Andre Ayew has defended African players after former West Ham director of recruitment Tony Henry questioned their attitude.

West Ham sacked Henry after the Daily Mail claimed he said they no longer wanted to sign African players because “they have a bad attitude” and “cause mayhem” when not selected.

Ghana striker Ayew, who left West Ham on transfer deadline day to re-join Swansea just as the Henry race row erupted, dismissed the stereotyping of African footballers.

“Maybe an African player can be difficult, but maybe a French or English player can be difficult too,” Ayew said.

“But maybe an African player can be calm too, so it’s not possible to say everyone is the same.

“I just know that we African players are proud of ourselves, we know where we have come from, and we believe in our football.

“African players – like Didier Drogba – have played at the greatest clubs in the world and done their jobs.

“We have done a lot to get into professional football and African footballers now play for Barcelona, Real Madrid and Chelsea.

“It’s an honour to be an African. I am so proud and so happy and I wouldn’t change it for anything.”

West Ham’s Senegalese midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate posted “African and proud” on his Instagram account the day after Henry’s comments were made public.

The post was liked by Manuel Lanzini, Adrian, Pedro Obiang and Arthur Masuaku, all current West Ham players, but Ayew insists his former team-mates will continue to give their all for the club despite the row.

“I haven’t spoken to anyone at West Ham, but it’s our job as footballers to play,” Ayew said.

“West Ham have taken a decision and I know that the African players are going to fight for their club.

“I know them really well, I know they are going to stick to their team and help them.”

Ayew could make his second Swansea debut at home to Burnley on Saturday after recovering from a hamstring problem.

The 28-year-old re-joined Swansea for £18million, 18 months after leaving for West Ham in a £20.5million deal.

“I looked at other options, but I felt like my job here wasn’t yet done.” said Ayew, who has been reunited with his brother and former Marseille team-mate Jordan.

“It wasn’t a really difficult decision. When the club came up and said they were interested in me coming back, I took time, I looked at different options and I had a few in England or outside.

“I left Swansea with a great feeling and the relationship I had with the fans was unbelievable.

“I felt that the club has what it takes to stay up, and I can add something to that.”

Swansea have suffered another injury blow after season-ending injuries to Wilfried Bony and Leroy Fer, with manager Carlos Carvalhal confirming veteran defender Angel Rangel needs groin surgery.

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