Tunis: Players for World Cup-bound Tunisia broke their Ramadan fast during two warm-up matches after the goalkeeper feigned injury, coach Nabil Maaloul told AFP on Tuesday.
Maaloul told stopshotter Mouez Hassen to go down "injured" as the sun went down, FIFA rules specifying that any injury to a goalkeeper necesitates a stop to the game.
As Hassen was being treated the rest of the players ran to the sidelines to break the sunrise-to-sundown fast with a few dates and some refreshing water.
"I had it all planned," Maaloul told AFP.
"A great deal of my players are fasting for Ramadan."
The first time it happened was 29 May in a 2-2 draw with Portugal and then 1 June in a 2-2 draw with Turkey.
"I told the 'keeper to fall on the floor so they could break their fast," Maaloul freely admitted.
"It's very difficult to go 16 hours without food or water.
Maaloul went on to explain the impact of fasting on his squad's fitness.
"Now is not the problem really, it's later, after Ramadan," he said.
"It can lead to muscle fatigue so I hope they can stand up to the rigours (of the World Cup)."
Ramadan is slated to end on June 14 this year, the day the World Cup starts.
Drawn in Group G, Tunisia take on England on 18 June, Panama on 24 June and Belgium four days later.
Updated Date: Jun 06, 2018 16:25 PM