The holy month of Ramadan, where 1.6 billion Muslim’s all over the world will fast, started last Saturday, June 28 and will end July 28. This poses another big challenge for Muslim World Cup players whose teams got through the difficult group matches.
This is the first time since 1986 that the holy month falls on the date of the big international sporting event. The holy Ramadan requires Muslims to fast for 30 days. This means no drinking, no food, and no sex from dusk till dawn during the holy month.
Mesut Ozil of Germany along with Swiss players Valon Behrami, Granit Xhaka, and Xherdan Shaqiri announced that they wouldn’t fast during the holy Ramadan to ensure their optimum health during the World Cup tournament.
Meanwhile, the Algerian team is yet to announce if they are to fast or not in observance of the holy Ramadan. However, the team’s coach Vahid Halilhodzic asked the international media to stop asking about the players’ religious decision and respect their choices when it comes to observing Ramadan.
To the practicing and devout Muslim players, observing the Ramadan would be a colossal challenge as they face the knockout matches under the warm Brazilian weather. The country’s humidity even prompted breaks in the middle of the game just to hydrate players, which means it would even be harder if players avoid drinking for the Ramadan fast.
Other Muslim players that will be affected by the Ramadan fast are Karim Benzema, Mamdou Sakho, Moussa Sissoko and Bacary Sagna of France; Sami Khedira and Mesut Ozil of Germany; Adnan Januzai, Marouane Fellaini, Mousa Dembele of Belgium; and Xherdan Shaqiri of Switzerland.
According to the Ministry of Islamic Affairs of Kuwait’s South American representative Sheikh Juma Momade, observing the Ramadan can actually enhance the performance of the players. There are European club athletes who continue to play very well amidst observing the holy Ramadan, he said.