How Huddersfield Town’s Muslim footballer Naby Sarr managed Ramadan and playing

Huddersfield Town defender Naby Sarr says that as a Muslim, playing during Ramadan is as much to do with the mind as the body.

Huddersfield Town's Naby Sarr: Grateful.
Huddersfield Town's Naby Sarr: Grateful.

Every year Muslims observe the practice of fasting from dawn to sunset.

It makes the job of playing professional sport more difficult, particularly in countries such as England where few if any allowances are made, but Sarr does not expect any special treatment.

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This year it began on April 12, running until May 17, taking in Town’s final six matches of the season.

Huddersfield Town's Naby Sarr (Picture: Tony Johnson)

“It’s hard but it’s not the first year I’ve done it, I’ve been doing it for a lot of years,” says the centre-back, born in France but of Senegalese origin. “Your body adapts after one week so you feel much better after that and then everything’s in the mind. When you’re on the pitch, you just think about performing well even if you’ve not had anything to eat or drink. As long as you are on the pitch you’re just thinking about the game.

“It’s something special, something really important for the Muslim community but I think we can do well on the pitch while performing for our religion.

“Training and a game are not the same. The effort in a game is much more violent so it’s different but when you get used to it, it becomes easier and easier each year.”

As for whether any more should be done to take account of practising Muslims within English football, Sarr is happy with the support he gets at Huddersfield.

“I think we just have to adapt,” he says. “Maybe in Muslim companies they adapt the times because 90 per cent of the population is Muslim, they train on a night or maybe have the games after breaking fast but in England we have to adapt to the situation because it’s not like 90 per cent of the people here are Muslim.

“I think the club are doing a really good job to help the situation and I cannot ask for more.

“The club has been helping me the best way possible, especially with the nutritionist. I had a really good chat about what I should eat and drink because spending the whole day training but not eating or drinking, it’s important to have the right food and the right drinks when you break the fast.

“The club has helped me with that and knowing someone has been getting information about this and knows exactly what’s best for us is really good and really helpful for me.”

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