June 18, 2021

Swansea boss Cooper swerves to avoid jinxing Ghana captain Andre Ayew 

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Swansea City manager Steve Cooper avoided appraising Andre Ayew’s recent penalty exploits after a 1-1 draw with Blackburn Rovers in the Championship on Tuesday, saying he did not want to jinx the good run.

The Ghana captain converted from the spot to draw the Jack Army level in the matchday 25 fixture away at Ewood Park.

It was his fourth penalty success in four games.

“Before the Stoke game [last week], I think we’d only had two penalties and now we’re up to five,” Cooper said after Tuesday’s game, according to Sportsmole.

“I haven’t seen it back, but I’m just pleased we’re getting into those positions.”

When asked about Ayew’s conversion rate, Cooper responded: “I don’t want to say anything [about Ayew’s penalties], I don’t want to give it the kiss of death. We’ll talk about it at the end of the season.”

Swansea’s top scorer so far this season, Ayew has registered 14 Championship goals in all.

Amid his undisputed influence in the third-placed club’s chase for Premier League promotion lies a worry for Cooper as the international break beckons.

Captain of Ghana, Ayew is likely to be called up for national duty for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying games, against South Africa and Sao Tome and Principe on March 25 and 28, respectively.

By coronavirus safety protocols in the UK, the 31-year-old will have to be quarantined on his return from national duty, a measure that could see him miss up to four club games.

“There’s been some stuff written about some Premier League players. I’m not too sure exactly how that’s going to look,” Cooper addressed the situation ahead of Thursday’s game during a press conference, Walesonline reported.

“We haven’t even had a call-up for Andre yet to say that he’s going. I imagine we would with him being the captain of Ghana.

“But what the stance is going to be on that throughout football, I’m not too sure. But I know there are some decisions to be made going forward. We’ve got four games to play first before that, but I know that’s coming.

“There have been games moved in the Champions League I would imagine for Covid restrictions.

“I haven’t given it much thought but I don’t think this situation is not just going to be about Andre and Swansea, I think there’s going to be a whole host of players that represent countries outside of Europe and with the travel restrictions that are going to be in a similar boat, so I imagine football will take a bit of a lead on it and we can make a decision from there.”

Ayew, who has scored four times for Ghana in his last two games, next heads into action when Swansea take on Luton Town on Saturday.