Goalkeeper feigned injury to allow Muslim players to break fast during two warm-up matches
Players for World Cup-bound Tunisia broke their Ramzan fast during two warm-up matches after the goalkeeper feigned injury, coach Nabil Maaloul said on Tuesday.
Maaloul told stopshotter Mouez Hassen to go down “injured” as the sun went down. FIFA rules specify that any injury to a goalkeeper necessitates a stop to the game.
As Hassen was being treated the rest of the players ran to the sidelines to break the sunrise-to-sundown fast with a few dates and some refreshing water. “I had it all planned,” Maaloul told AFP. “A great deal of my players are fasting for Ramzan.”
The first time it happened was May 29 in a 2-2 draw with Portugal and then June 1 in a 2-2 draw with Turkey. “I told the ‘keeper to fall on the floor so they could break their fast,” Maaloul freely admitted. “It’s very difficult to go 16 hours without food or water.”
Maaloul went on to explain the impact of fasting on his squad’s fitness. “Now is not the problem really, it’s later, after Ramzan,” he said. “It can lead to muscle fatigue so I hope they can stand up to the rigors [of the World Cup].”
Ramzan is slated to end on June 14 this year, the day the World Cup starts.
Drawn in Group G, Tunisia take on England on June 18, Panama on June 24 and Belgium four days later.