For three weeks, everything has been going like clockwork for Mohamed Farsi. The Quebecer made two assists and is at the heart of the Columbus Crew’s three-game winning streak thanks to his usual ardor which still lasts the 90 minutes of play. In short, nothing abnormal, with the exception of a small noteworthy factor.

Farsi, who is fasting during the Ramadan period, did not eat or drink anything in the 15 hours preceding each of these three encounters. In the 18th minute of the game against Real Salt Lake, played last week, the official ordered a “refreshment break”, as can be seen in games played in oppressive heat.

As the players headed to quench their thirst, Farsi and the Crew’s other Muslim roster, Steven Moreira, quickly ingested dates and a vitamin drink before heading back to their posts. A total of 60 seconds elapsed between the two whistles.

This stoppage is new to MLS. The Garber circuit followed suit after the English and German championships made a similar announcement earlier in March. The vast majority of games in MLS through April 20 are expected to be the scene of a sunset-like break.

Hassoun Camara, Montreal Impact defender for seven seasons, also walked the field while fasting during Ramadan. If he appreciates the initiative, he would not have been the instigator.

“There are rules of the game. If the federation says there is no reason to stop the matches, I would even be inclined to agree with those federations,” he said. during a telephone interview. There is an opening and that is good. It should also be noted that no player asked for anything. So we have to respect the choice of the federations, regardless of their decision. »

Farsi is also of the opinion that such a break is not imperative. But only because the right piston of the Crew is a fine strategist.

“I’m just going to ask my goalkeeper to fake an injury and I’m going to eat,” he laughed. No joke, whatever the decision, we will find a solution. The fact that such a measure is taken makes it easier for us, but ultimately, we will take it, that minute. »

Farsi explained his routine at length to La Presse during a videoconference. It all starts with a sweet lunch at 5 a.m. in order to eat a good meal before sunrise. He then goes back to bed until he has to leave his house for club training. His next meal does not come until around 8:00 p.m., when he takes a fairly light meal, usually soup. It was then around 11 p.m. that he had his third meal of the day, a hearty meal. And so goes Groundhog Day for a month.

Everything is settled to the quarter turn today. Camara and Farsi claimed that it is however not more difficult to carry out their activities during Ramadan.

Farsi even allowed himself to see the positive on a daily basis, again thanks to a little joke.

The watchword for Farsi is never to use Ramadan as an excuse: “Personally, Ramadan period or not, I find that I have energy and I am able to run. So if I’m not good, I’m not going to blame it on Ramadan, because I’ve been doing it for years. If I’m not good, it’s because I’m not good. »

Not only is this not a negative point according to the two sportsmen, but Camara explains that, according to him, Ramadan was a precious moment.

“It can be beneficial,” said the former right-back. It allows me to readjust the food plan to be more efficient. By changing your habits, you balance things out. For me, it has always been a period of readjustment. »

While Camara’s and Farsi’s coaches have always been empathetic and open-minded, including some who have adapted training sessions to better suit the players during the Ramadan period, not all coaches have this sensitivity. .

Earlier in April, the head coach of Nantes in the French first division, Antoine Kombouaré, decided not to select defender Jaouen Hadjam for the meeting against Stade de Reims since the player did not want to break his fast during the match days. In the club’s last nine games, Hadjam started seven times and came on as a substitute twice.

A decision that Camara and Farsi castigated.

“From the coach’s communication point of view, I thought it was unfair,” Camara said. It is only based on theory and it ends by imposing a sanction. We have the concrete example of a Karim Benzema who scored six goals in one week with Real Madrid while doing Ramadan, so there is no particular correlation.

“There are players who feel worse and we have to listen to them. But as long as a player is fit, there is no reason to remove him. […] If he is performing well, there is no reason to leave him on the bench. »

In a meritocracy, the basis of a sports club, the selection of players has always been attributable to their performance. Nobody stopped Maradona from playing, as he loved to party till late at night, so if the said player is performing well during Ramadan, why would he be left on the bench? The question arises.