Egyptian Football Association president Hany Abo Rida says he will encourage players to avoid fasting during Ramadan, so as not to suffer the physical rigors that would result during the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals in Russia.
“The Quran grants exemptions from the fast to travelers and those who are preoccupied with some mission especially outside their homes. And despite falling under this exemption category, our athletes will be fasting. But if they refrain from food, our chances to lose matches will substantially increase,” Abo Rida said in an interview with Russian media outlet TASS.
Ramadan, the holiest month of the Islamic calendar is set to end just before the World Cup kicks off.
“You should understand that their lifestyle will completely change during Ramadan, they will not sleep at night and will not eat during the daytime. Will it be productive preparation? How would they train if their biorhythms will be basically changed?”
Egypt’s sub-par performance in an August World Cup qualifying loss to Uganda was partially blamed on one or more players having fasted the day of the match.
“In Russia the sun sets much later [than in Egypt], this means our players will be allowed to eat their evening meal not earlier than 9 PM. We planned to come to Russia one week before the World Cup, meaning that we will be forced to observe Ramadan’s last week under local conditions. That’s why we will do everything possible to persuade our players,” Abo Rida concluded.
Ramadan is expected to concluded on June 13 or 15.
Egypt kicks-off its World Cup campaign June 15 against Uruguay.