Algeria World Cup team ‘exempt’ from Ramadan fast
Algeria will face Germany tonight in its first World Cup match since the holy month of Ramadan began
Algerian football players who observe the holy month of Ramadan have been relieved from fasting to play at the World Cup, the team has confirmed ahead of their match against Germany in Brazil on Monday.
Algerian coach Vahid Halilhodzic stated that the players will be following the program of an imam travelling with the team to make sure that they respect the month of Ramadan, while maintaining their physical stability.
The veteran coach, a French-Bosnian, said fasting was a ''private issue and players will do exactly as they wish.''
''When you ask this question you lack respect and ethics. I would like this to stop. Stop this controversy. Talk about football,'' he said, in response to repeated questions at the official pre-match news conference. ''And stop asking me about Ramadan, otherwise I will get up and leave.''
During Ramadan, Muslims fast from dawn till dusk for a whole month, which consists of no consumption of food or water. Ramadan began on Sunday in most parts of the world.
This year’s World Cup is the first time since 1986 that Ramadan has fallen during the tournament. While there are only currently only 11 hours of daylight in Rio de Janeiro – making fasting easier than in other countries – fasting still may not be the ideal choice for players.
Algeria celebrated its successful first round in the World Cup, securing their place in the second round with their knock-out match against Germany on Monday. The match kicks off less than an hour before sunset in the southern Brazilian city of Porto Alegre.
This will be the first time they play against Germany since 1982, where they defeated West Germany 2–1 despite still being knocked out at the group stage.
According to the Associated Press, Germany captain Philipp Lahm has said: "we don't want to have the problems that others have had — going to extra time or a shootout. ... The supposedly small football countries have shown what they are capable of. We have been warned and we want to do it in 90 minutes."
Still, neither Lahm nor Germany coach Joachim Loew would venture into naming a single player on Algeria's squad — "because I don't want to pronounce them wrongly."
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