World Cup 2018: Ramadan and the challenge faced by Muslim players
Faking one’s injury is hardly a new concept in sports. Many players hide injuries to get selected, others make it look like they’re hurt, so they can waste precious time, or simply make the opposition lose focus. With the football World Cup kicking off in three days and Ramadan coinciding with it, Tunisia players have come up with an ingenious method to deal with it.
(AP Photo/Hassene Dridi, File)
During recent pre-World Cup warm-up matches, Tunisia’s goalkeeper Mouez Hassen slumped to the ground twice in recent weeks and it led to his teammates earning an extended break. It allowed them enough time to grab water and a pack of dates to break their fast. For the players, it allowed them to have the much need nutrition, as they abstained from eating or drinking through the day of the game. During Ramadan, Muslims fast and avoid eating and drinking from sunrise to sunset. This came as a challenge for a few teams preparing for the Cup.
(AP Photo, File)
The Tunisian team went to the sidelines where staff handed them water and containers with dates - the traditional way to break the fast. Hassen needed to time his ‘injury’ at the most opportune moment i.e. when he was certain that the sun was down.
(AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev, File)
Besides Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco, Senegal, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Nigeria have Muslim players and are also part of the World Cup. Ramadan is "a very big challenge and it's complicated," Egypt team doctor Mohamed Abouelela told The Associated Press. "We have to change everything, sleeping patterns and the number of meals (players eat) since we will just have a six- or seven-hour window during which we must have a good training (session) and at least two meals," Abouelela said.
(AP Photo/Amr Nabil, File)
Playing the world cup on an empty stomach no mean feat, but as these players prove, footballers do whatever it takes to take home the coveted World Cup trophy.