Tunisia players celebrate
Thursday Jun 07, 2018. 09:59
Tunisia manager Nabil Maaloul has admitted to a pre-arranged plan during recent World Cup warm-up friendlies to help his players break their Ramadan fast.
The Carthage Eagles boss explained that he asked goalkeeper Mouez Hassan to feign injury so his players could take on food and water.
Hassan dropped to the ground and requested treatment during the second halves of his team’s recent friendlies against Portugal and Turkey.
The stoppages allowed his teammates to head to the sidelines for food and water, having fasted between sunrise and sunset in honour of Ramadan.
Hassan, who plays for French Ligue 2 club Chateauroux, wrote in a since-deleted tweet, "I was really hurt, bruv" along with laughing emojis, when asked about the incident.
Maaloul has now revealed that it was part of a pre-arranged plan: "I had prepared it," he explained.
"We prepared it because a huge amount of players were fasting. I told him to fall down to let the players break the fast. Us staff too.
"The players have the right to do what they have to do. It's our religion. It's difficult to stay 16 hours without water, without drinking, especially if you have two training sessions. But we adapted."
Tunisia will have one further warm-up game, against Spain on Saturday night, during the time of Ramadan. The religious observance will end before their first group stage game against England on June 18.
"The problem isn't now," Maaloul said. "The problem is after Ramadan. The muscles are going to be a little tired. I hope it's going to work out."