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Ramadan and football

Kennedy Gondwe/Twenty Ten

Article synopsis: Another look into Ramadan and football after Sudan complains

Date: 200909

Ghana’s football star Sulley Muntari Ali leaps to the defence of Ramadan at the merest mention of it. He practises it. He certainly knows its demands.

“It’s a little bit [hard],” he responds when asked how easy it is to cope with Ramadan demands. “It is a Holy month. I have to cope with it because it’s only 30 days and I will be fine.”

To the uninitiated, according to the Qu’ran, “Ramadan is a period in which Muslims are supposed to fast for a month except those that are sick or on a journey.” The practise, which is part of the five pillars of Islamic faith, comes with its own regime. No Sex. No smoking. No chewing gum. No eating or drinking from sunrise to sunset.

It is the lack of adequate eating and fluid intake that leaves people like Dr. Rabei Hussain, the Sudanese medic, concerned about Ramadan’s effects on sportsmen. The subject has come under the microscope again because Dr. Hussain argues the Sudanese could have perhaps performed better against Ghana had his players not been fasting. He says world football mother-body Fifa should consider altering its calendar in order not to disadvantage players of Islamic faith during Ramadan. “During Ramadan, any reduction by two per cent of body fluids reduces the psychological, technical and tactical concentration of players by more than 20 per cent,” he explained.

Dr. Hussain could be right. In his team’s 2-0 loss to Ghana,...

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