February 9, 2018 / 10:13 AM / 3 months ago

Soccer: Don't stereotype African players, says Ayew

LONDON (Reuters) - Former West Ham United striker Andre Ayew has responded to the comments made by the club’s ex-head of recruitment Tony Henry on African footballers by saying it is impossible to stereotype players from the continent.

File Photo: Soccer Football - Premier League - West Ham United vs Newcastle United - London Stadium, London, Britain - December 23, 2017 West Ham United's Andre Ayew celebrates scoring their second goal REUTERS/Eddie Keogh

Henry was sacked this month after newspaper revelations that he had told agents the Premier League club “don’t want any more Africans” because they “cause mayhem”.

Ghanaian Ayew was at West Ham when Henry made the remarks but subsequently joined Swansea.

“African players are like any human beings in the world, everyone is different,” Ayew said.

“Maybe an African player can be difficult, but maybe a French or English player can be difficult too. Maybe an African player can be calm, so it’s not possible to say they are the same.

“Everyone has their character, their philosophy, and the way they were brought up.”

Ayew, who plays alongside his brother Jordan at Swansea, is the son of three-times African Footballer Abedi “Pele” Ayew and has another brother Ibrahim who plays football professionally.

Ayew, 28, said the one unifying quality for African players was the pride they feel at competing at the highest level.

“All African players lead their lives differently and lead their lives in the way they think is best for them as an individual player,” he said.

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

“You can see African players have played at the greatest clubs in the world and done their jobs. We have players who have played at the top level — Didier Drogba, for example.

“For me, it’s an honour to be an African.”

West ham sacked Henry after saying his comments were “unacceptable”.

“West Ham United will not tolerate any type of discrimination,” the club said in a statement.

Reporting by Neil Robinson, editing by Ed Osmond

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