Olivier Ntcham on faith and football during Ramadan

15th April 2022
First team
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Olivier Ntcham has revealed how he balances life as a professional footballer with his faith as he joins millions of Muslims around the world who are currently observing Ramadan.

It’s the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is marked by a period of fasting, prayer and reflection. Many Muslims don't eat from sunrise to sunset to allow greater focus on prayer and closeness to Allah.

For Ntcham, it’s an important part of his religion and he and the Swans staff must manage his workload and energy levels carefully as he balances his faith and football.

The former Celtic player got on the scoresheet on Good Friday with a stunning strike from distance securing a draw against Barnsley.

“Olivier is probably not quite in a position to start,” head coach Russell Martin said after the midfielder’s impactful appearance off the bench on Friday afternoon.

“He's practising his religious beliefs and can't eat during the day, so it makes it difficult to be at full energy for 90 minutes. We have to choose when and where to use him.

“Whenever he's come on as a sub, I’m games like West Brom, Barnsley earlier on in the season, he's been brilliant.”

Trying to ensure there is no lack of energy has been a challenge for Ntcham during matches and training, but he says staying positive and managing food intake after dark is key.

“I need to eat well at night and drink a lot of water, but even with that sometimes on the pitch you can sometimes feel a lack of energy,” he explained.

“If you stay positive and keep going, it’s fine.

“Ramadan is really important to me because it’s part of my religion so I am strict on it.

“My family is half Christian, half Muslim, so for some of my family this is normal. But for the other half of my family it can be difficult for them to see me playing and training while fasting, but it’s fine for me.”