As midfielder Anwar El Ghazi observes the holy month of Ramadan during May, fans have been worried about his performances being affected. There’s plenty of reasons why this won’t be the case.
May is seeing a host of people who follow the faith of Islam observe the holy month of Ramadan, a time where the aforementioned do not eat or drink between sunrise and sunset.
The fasting is intended to teach patience, humility, spirituality and submissiveness to the faith’s god, Allah.
There are some huge names within football currently that undergo the month of fasting, including Mezut Ozil, Paul Pogba and Karim Benzema amongst others – and many of these players observed Ramadan during the World Cup last year.
For Aston Villa, winger Anwar El Ghazi is perhaps their most high profile player that is devoting his month to his religion, and this was mentioned by Dean Smith following the 2-1 Play-Off Semi-Final win at Villa Park on Saturday.
For a number of Muslim players, including El Ghazi, games begin to become more of a challenge than usual due to the fasting across the month – but with special attention paid to these players by medical staff, their nutrition is generally normal.
As long as a player’s preparation is correct, and they get the right fuel on board during the suhoor – or early pre-dawn breakfast – then they can ensure they’re ready for training or a big game. The month can be challenging for players initially, but the body adapts. As long as the players ensure they are fully hydrated before they have to begin their fast – there’s going to be very little issue.
This is even more apparent for players that will have been lifelong followers of Islam, like Anwar El Ghazi. He’s dealt with playing football during Ramadan before this year and will know the capabilities of his own body during the period.
Some players have been known to compromise in the past, with former forwards stating that the days before games and during match-days they would not fast, and instead make up the days lost at the end of the month.
Anwar will be following a gruelling meal plan during this month set by the nutrition coaches at Aston Villa, and will be eating carbohydrates after his morning prayer to ensure there’s a slow release of energy throughout the day, as well as breaking his fast with a main meal and a lot of water to ensure that he stays hydrates and that his performances do not suffer because of this.