Coronavirus: Crystal Palace manager Hodgson unhappy releasing Jordan Ayew to play in Africa

Jordan Ayew Crystal Palace 2019-20

Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson has expressed his concern about the international travels of four players of the club for 2022 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifying assignments amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

Striker Jordan Ayew and midfielder Jeffrey Schlupp have been summoned by Ghana for a double-header against Sudan. Attacker Wilfried Zaha has been called up by Cote d'Ivoire for back-to-back games against Madagascar while midfielder-cum-centre-back Cheikhou Kouyate is in the Senegal squad for matches against Guinea-Bissau. 

Hodgson's worry has been elevated by the outcome of the last international break where some players, including Ayew, tested positive for the disease upon their return to the club. 

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"I am a little bit disappointed that players are going to go as far as Africa to play matches," Hodgson has said, as reported by his club's official website.  

"I don’t know that in this Covid world and environment in which we live, it is really great news to be sending your players to places like Sudan and Mauritius.

"But it is something that we probably have to do, but I am just hoping this time the countries that they go and play for will look after them well because the last time we lost Jordan Ayew for two weeks."

Hodgson was left fuming after the last international break when Ayew contracted coronavirus upon joining Ghana for international friendly matches against Mali and Qatar in Turkey. 

"Unfortunately he [Ayew] tested positive for Covid in our last test on Friday," Hodgson said last month, per the Evening Standard.

"He's been away with Ghana, which we weren't exactly delighted to accept that he had to do. Like several other Ghanaian players, I believe when they have gone back to their clubs they have tested positive.

"Now we have to follow the relative government and Premier League guidelines before we see him again.

"I don't know [when we'll have him back]. Don't ask me to stand here and explain all of the Premier League government guidelines when it comes to Covid."

About six other Ghana players also tested positive for coronavirus after their last set of internationals.

Celta Vigo defender Joseph Aidoo, Hoffenheim centre-back Kasim Nuhu Adams, Vitoria Guimaraes left-back Gideon Mensah and Besiktas midfielder Bernard Mensah were among the infected players.

Ghana are set to host Sudan in a first leg fixture on November 12 before travelling away for the reverse fixture five days later. 

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