Despite the World Cup not quite having started yet, the Russian-bound Tunisian team has already been making headlines.
It appears that Tunisia’s goalkeeper, Mouez Hassen, earned his team an unlikely Iftar break during two friendly matches recently.
Playing against Portugal, and then Turkey, as part of their preparations for the upcoming World Cup, the keeper seems to have received spontaneous injuries that forced him to receive medical attention just as the sunset during both games. At the 58th minute against Portugal, and the 49th minute against Turkey, both timings which coincides perfectly with the Athan, Mouez went down.
While he lay on the floor nursing his injuries, his teammates rushed to the side lines and broke their fasts with dates and water. Against Portugal, the impact was apparent, when 6 minutes after Magrhib, the Tunisian team scored a goal, levelling the match at 2-2. The game against Turkey also finished at 2-2.
Some astute tweeps quickly noticed the convenient timing of this injury during the 2 games, however, when he was confronted about the conspiracy he quickly denied it, replying to an accused, “J’avais mal frero” or “I was hurt bruv” with 3 laughing smileys. However, the master plan was later confirmed by Tunisia’s coach Nabil Maaloul, who took credit for the scheme, “That is indeed my strategy. I prepared it because we have many players who are fasting”.
There are many scholars who believe that Muslims whose work would be significantly compromised by fasting are allowed to skip it, and make up the days at a more convenient time. More specifically for athletes, the High Egyptian Islamic Council issued a fatwa for the 2012 London Olympics, which allowed athletes to eat and drink during Ramadan, while Germany’s Central Council of Muslims ruled in 2011 that footballers did not have to fast on game days. They issued this ruling having been contacted by the German Football Federation (DFB), who in turn had been contacted by PSV Eindhoven, as 3 of their Muslim players were fasting in secret.
The North African team will open their World Cup campaign with a game against England on the 18th of June. Thankfully for Mouez, his acting skills will not be needed, as Eid is due to take place on Thursday the 14th of June, or Friday the 15th.