Egypt national team coach, Hector Cuper, says there will be measures in place to make sure the squad remains fit ahead of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, as players may be fasting during the holy month of Ramadan, which starts in May.
The FIFA World Cup in Russia kicks off on the final day of Ramadan (15 June), which requires Muslims to fast from sunrise to sunset.
A day after the end of the holy month, Egypt - that will participate with an all-Muslim team – is scheduled to play its opening match against Uruguay.
🇦🇷 Héctor Cúper — Head coach of 🇪🇬 #Egypt National Team, presented with @Kooora 'Best Arab National Team Coach' award by HE Saeed Hareb — Secretary General of @DubaiSC on December 28, 2017 in 🇦🇪 Dubai, UAE pic.twitter.com/F6VBRYrxI4— #GlobeSoccer Awards (@Globe_Soccer) 9 March 2018
The 62-year-old Argentinian coach said that specialists have been hired as part of the measures to maintain the players’ fitness ahead of the World Cup.
'The Egyptian Football Association has hired specialists to help me and the players during the fasting month of Ramadan,' Cuper said at a news conference.
'We will organize and monitor their eating and sleeping and hope that this will not affect them badly.
'It may be a problem to the coaches because the players will stop eating from sunrise until sunset, so it will not be easy during training but that is to do with the religion and I can't prevent them from observing Ramadan.
“We are working on this and seeking to find the best way to overcome fasting fatigue and prevent it from hurting the players.”
Players may fast, or not
The Pharaohs’ head coach also mentioned that it would be up to the players if they decide to fast or not.
“Players of the national squad are absolutely free to fast and we cannot interfere in this because of my full respect for all faiths,” the Argentinian said.
Friendlies against Greece and Portugal
Egypt is playing friendlies against Portugal on 23 March and against Greece on 27 March.
'We will play two friendly matches, and one of them is against Portugal and Cristiano Ronaldo. As far as preparations go, that is very good for us,' Cuper concluded.
Egypt shares World Cup Group A with hosts Russia, Saudi Arabia and Uruguay.