'Fasting players? They have to stay home' — Ligue 1 Boss reiterates stance against players observing Ramadan on matchday

Nantes manager Antoine Koumbouare | Imago

'Fasting players? They have to stay home' — Ligue 1 Boss reiterates stance against players observing Ramadan on matchday

Ayoola Kelechi 16:07 - 30.03.2024

The controversial Ligue 1 manager of Moses Simon's Nantes has spoken against players fasting on matchdays

In a recent interview with Les Grandes Gueules du Sport, FC Nantes' manager Antoine Koumbouare stood firm on his policy regarding players observing Ramadan, reiterating his insistence that fasting players must break their fast on matchdays to be considered for the squad.

Koumbouare’s controversial stance

Last season, during his previous stint as Nantes manager, Koumbouare's decision to omit Algerian international Jaouen Hadjam from the squad for a match against Stade de Reims drew attention and debate. Defending his stance, Koumbouare emphasized the importance of player safety and performance on matchdays.

Koumbouare emphasized that his policy is not a sanction but a non-negotiable requirement. He underscored the need for unity and consistency within the team, stating that players must eat together as part of the pre-match routine to foster team spirit and preparation.

Nantes manager explains reason for tough stance

Highlighting the significance of team cohesion and preparation, Koumbouaré stressed the need for players to adhere to the team's routine, stating, "When we prepare for a match we have to be together, but to be together on the field it means being with each other when we eat in the morning, or for lunch." He emphasized the role of this routine in fostering camaraderie and readiness for the game ahead.

The manager concluded by suggesting that his policy is supported by medical advice, indicating, "I think, doctors agree, that when you play in the evening, you are stronger when you have eaten and drunk well." He emphasized the importance of player well-being and performance on matchdays.

Antoine Koumbouare's unwavering stance on players observing Ramadan on matchdays reflects his commitment to the safety and performance of his squad. While his policy has sparked debate, Koumbouare remains steadfast in his belief that adherence to team routines and player well-being are paramount.