Ex-Newcastle striker Demba Ba has slammed Nantes head coach Antoine Kombouare over his treatment of fasting players during Ramadan.
Kombouare faced backlash after he excluded Algerian left-back Jaouen Hadjam (20) from the squad for refusing to end his fast on match day. In contrast, other Muslim players on the Nantes team played against Reims on Sunday as they chose to consume food and drink on match day.
“During the week, there are no problems with fasting players”, Kombouare said.
“I’m ready to support them if needed. We know it’s not an easy time. But on gameday, you should not fast. And those who fast are not in the squad. I don’t want them to pick an injury.“ Nantes eventually lost 3-0 against Reims.
These comments have angered Ba, who hit back at the former PSG boss. “It amazes me that there are some people who still think that the fasting month of Ramadan is behavioural,” he tweeted.
“For those who are still wondering, we are talking about the identity of a person. A simple question: is it a good thing to ask someone to put aside what gives them their identity?“
Ba advised Kombouaré to take a leaf out Liverpool’s boss Jürgen Klopp’s book. “A [Jürgen] Klopp, for example, would in my opinion put the players in the best condition so that they can perform. And if they don’t, then they should be left out, for sporting and non-identity reasons.”
The German coach fielded practising Muslim Mohamed Salah (30), for the Reds’ clash against Manchester City on Saturday, with the Egyptian opening the scoring.