It is that time of the year when everyone is buzzing as the new season of the Premier League approaches.
The Premier League clubs have already touched down in different lands all over the world for their pre-season friendlies, which are obviously considered as a big part of the preparations.
And there is no doubt that every single player should be looking forward to those friendlies as they aim at upping their fitness levels following weeks of relaxation. However, I’m not sure if the Premier League Muslim footballers are.
In the next few days we enter the Islamic Holy month of Ramadan, during which Muslims refrain from food and drinks from dawn to dusk.
You may not know but there are a fair number of Muslim players in the Premier League with the likes of Yaya Toure, Samir Nasri, Hatem Ben Arfa, Demba Ba and Papiss Demba Cissé amongst the most well known.
You may remember Demba Ba’s slow start last season was attributed to his Ramadan fasting according to Alan Pardew.
The Toon’s manager revealed in his Blackburn post-match interview, a game in which Ba managed to score a hat-trick back in September last season:
“He’s [Demba Ba] had a slow start here because of mainly Ramadan in my view. He had a couple of substitute appearances where he just started to show a little bit of sharpness but I thought he was terrific at Aston Villa and made us control the midfield without actually threatening the goal.”
And the player himself reiterated his manager’s thoughts on the impact of fasting and said:
“Sometimes it [fasting] doesn’t affect you at all. Sometimes you start feeling a bit tired. But it is not something that is new to me — I have been doing this for a long time.”
Fortunately for Ba and his fellow Muslim players, the new season of the Premier League this year won’t kick off until August the 18th, which will coincide with the penultimate day of the fasting month.
So that is definitely some good news for those Muslim players, their clubs, managers and most importantly their Fantasy Premier League (FPL) future owners.
Still this does pose a big question as to whether these Muslim players’ pre-season preparations will be hindered by the overlap of the fasting month?
Only time will tell just how well these players juggle the demands of their professional career on one hand, and their religious duties on the other hand.
List of Premier League Muslim footballers
Ali Al Habsi
Hatem Ben Arfa
Karim El Ahmadi
Papiss Demba Cissé
Robin van Persie (Married to a Muslim wife and is also said to be Muslim, but just doesn’t wish to publicly admit it.)