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What is it like to be a footballer during Ramadan?

Sadio Mane was fasting in the run-up to the 2018 Champions League Final and scored the equalising goal against Real Madrid.

Mohammed Salah was injured in that game but still recovered sufficiently to take his place at the World Cup in Russia, where he scored twice for Egypt during the group stages.

World Cup winner Paul Pogba and Algeria’s Riyad Mahrez have made the pilgrimage to Mecca. Mahrez’s international team-mate Rais M’bolhi broke his fast at half-time with water and dates during the 2014 World Cup clash with Germany.

This season Premier League captains will also be able to request a drinks break at an appropriate moment in the game during their pre-match meeting with referees.

The world’s most popular league – the Premier League, has also begun to move with the times. History was made in April 2021. A game between Leicester and Crystal Palace was paused to allow Muslim players to break their fast during Ramadan. Leicester’s Wesley Fofana tweeted ‘That’s what makes football wonderful’ after the game.

Semi-professional footballer and practising Muslim Sufyan Zia described it as an inspirational moment for players like him, telling Football Now, “It’s a really good feeling because Muslim players sometimes may struggle to fast, especially in the professional game. Clubs should definitely speak with officials or leagues to allow a couple of minutes in a game because it’s not going to harm anyone, just having a date or two and getting a drink.

The most obvious is perhaps diet. An athlete should eat three large meals each day, but this is likely to be modified during a fasting month. Similarly, hydration needs will vary.

A proper sleep pattern is also crucial for sports stars to aid recovery, especially with the demanding schedule associated with the top football leagues worldwide.metasports

Epidemiologist Abdulaziz Farooq told Football Now that:-

80% of Muslim athletes reported that their endurance is reduced.

70% said their mental concentration suffered.

60% believed their sleep quality would lessen.

Football managers and their coaching teams can counteract these challenges by being more flexible with individual players’ training schedules. Coaches are also advised to monitor the player’s training load, recovery, mood, and motivation. They are also advised to keep an eye on any significant deviation from pre-Ramadan levels and intervene and help where necessary.

 

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