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Koka: Coaches respect our religion, offer different training plan during Ramadan


Rio Ave striker Ahmed Hassan ‘Koka’ spoke to the media this week and set himself objectives for the upcoming season, and also explained how he trains with his team during Ramadan.

After scoring just three goals in the 2013/14 season, Ahmed Hassan ‘Koka’ wants to become a key figure in the Vila do Conde side and set himself targets, for both the team and himself.

“I would like to score 15 goals. It is a target that I make, always thinking about the success of the group. We want to be in the top 8 positions and reach the group stages of the Europa League,” said Koka.

The bar is raised high for Rio Ave, who reached the finals of both League Cup and Portuguese Cup, with the latter qualifying them to the Europa League. “Everybody will remember for ever what we did last year,” added the 21-year-old.

The month of July is crucial during pre-season, but that does not stop a number of Muslim players who fast from dawn till dusk during Ramadan. Only Koka and Ghanaian Alhassan Wakaso (brother of Ghana international Wakaso Mubarak) observe the holy month, but the coaching staff respects their decision.

“I really like the way that the coaches comprehend our situation. They respect our religion and suggested a different training plan. Train in the morning, then sleep, and train again at night and we appreciate that, of course,” Koka added.

Rio Ave are one of the teams that began their pre-season earlier, as their first official match of the season will be in early August, as they compete in the play-off stage of Europa League qualifying.

Alexandre Queirós is a Portuguese sports enthusiast, with particular focus African, Portuguese and Oceanic football. He followed the exploits of the Egyptian players plying their trade in Portugal for and also covers the rest of African football for other websites. He also proudly sates that he has been on the BBC World Service radio, even though he only said one sentence.

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