“Stop asking me about Ramadan or I will get up and leave.”
Reporters got under the skin of Algeria coach Vahid Halilhodzic when they peppered him with questions about his players fasting for Ramadan.
The issue has been presented as a possible roadblock for the Algerian players, who are currently in the middle of the month-long Islamic celebration where followers must fast from sunup to sundown each day.
There are obvious disadvantages for professional athletes, but when reporters went on about it during Algeria’s prematch press conference, Halilhodzic got annoyed.
“When you ask the question, you lack respect and I’d like you to focus on the football and nothing else,” said Bosnian-born Halilhodzic. “This is not the first time I coach a team with Muslims, I’m a Muslim myself.”
There were reports that Halilhodzic asked his players not to observe the religious holiday, but he shed those aside, saying, “I have always allowed the players to make their own decision.”
Algeria takes on Germany in the Round of 16 on Monday. Ramadan began at sundown on Saturday, June 28.
For more on the situation, see the story at Soccerly.com.