BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
Unlike the previous seasons, this year's Malaysia Super League (MSL) campaign will still run during the Islamic month of Ramadan, when Muslims all over the world refrain from eating and drinking during the day.
The decision to let the league continue during this year's fasting month will see five rounds of MSL played out in the period, beginning from May 22 until June 10.
As a majority of Malaysians and players in the Malaysian top tier are Muslims, several steps will be taken to ensure that they can still perform their religious obligations without sacrificing their performance on the pitch, such as holding team training at night and moving back kick-off times by one hour; from 9.00 pm to 10 pm.
PKNS FC star Faris Ramli is one of the many Muslim players who will be involved in the league during the fasting month, and he shared his dietary secret in an interview that was published on the Football Malaysia LLP (FMLLP) website.
Fortunately for the Singaporean, it will not be his first time playing during Ramadan, as he has had the experience while playing in the S-League back home.
"To be honest, being able to fast is very sacred to me. However, it is not that difficult because I am used to playing football during the month of Ramadan.
"I was with Home United in Singapore last season and fasting while playing football is something that is not new to me. I am looking forward to seeing how the month of Ramadan would be like in Malaysian football," responded the winger.
What is important to the 25-year old is matching his food intake during the month, and he shared a few tips on this:
"In my opinion, there is not really a diet that I follow because you must get your preparation right. I have to say that I enjoy eating dates during game days because it contains a lot of vitamins and nutritious elements. On top of that, I also feel very energized after eating dates.
"When I was younger, I used to have cereal for my early pre-dawn breakfast ("sahur") because it is easy to prepare and healthy for athletes. I still do have cereal at times, especially on game days as it gives me the energy to last for 90 minutes. If I do not have my early pre-dawn breakfast, I would definitely be able to feel the effects during the game," said Faris.
PKNS will definitely be relying on the Singapore international's ability to adjust his dietary practices in order to maintain his level of performance in the coming one month period. Ever since he joined the Red Ants in the pre-season, Faris has scored four league goals and one FA Cup goal, to help them reach fourth place in the MSL and the semi-final stage in the cup.