Ramadan: Everton’s Doucoure putting religion first before work

Everton midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure believes playing football will not be a challenge for him to fast in the Islamic month of Ramadan that starts on Thursday.

Doucoure has been a regular fixture in the Toffees’ midfield and he scored a goal for Sean Dyce’s men in their 2-2 Premier League draw against Chelsea, just before the international break.

The 30-year-old Mali international admitted it is difficult not to eat or drink in daylight hours as a footballer but he has adapted to it.

“Sometimes playing football has been hard because Ramadan has been in the summer and during pre-season,” Doucoure told BBC Sport. But I have always been lucky to practise Ramadan and there have never been problems with my physical condition – I am grateful for that.

“My religion is the most important thing in my life – I put my religion first, then comes my work. You can do both together and I am happy with that. I always love Ramadan.”

Doucoure is joined by Amadou Onana and Senegal’s idrissa Gueye as Muslim trio at Goodison Park whom he prays together with.

The Premier League recently announced Muslim players will be allowed to break their fast during games, a development Doucoure welcomes with open arms.

“We feel very confident here, very accepted and everything is in place for Muslim people to enjoy,” he continued. “In the Premier League you are free to do whatever suits you. They will never do anything against your faith and this is great.

“I fast every day, I don’t miss any day. It has become normal and very easy for me.”

Doucoure who made his international debut for Mali during a FIFA World Cup qualifier against Tunisia last year, will have his first taste of action during Ramadan when Mali battle the Gambia in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers on Friday.

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