Muslim Soccer Star Plays Down Ramadan ‘Feud’ with Boss

9/4/2009, 5:33 a.m. PDT The Associated Press

(AP) — ACCRA, Ghana – Ghana and Inter Milan midfielder Sulley Muntari has played down talk of a feud between him and his club boss Jose Mourinho over his observance of Ramadan.

Mourinho came under fire from Islamic leaders for his comments relating to Muntari and the Muslim fasting month.

The Portuguese trainer claimed the player’s observance of Ramadan-during which Muslims refrain from eating or drinking from dawn until sunset-was having a negative influence on Muntari’s early form with the Serie A champion.

But the 25-year-old Muntari, who will play in Ghana’s crucial World Cup qualifier against Sudan on Sunday, said there was no bad blood between him and Mourinho.

“There was nothing like that,” Muntari told the Associated Press after a training match at the Accra Stadium. “We did not talk about it. I just heard rumors that I was having problems with the coach. He (Mourinho) supports me a lot. I don’t know where that (the rumors) came from. I mean, this is the month (of Ramadan). After that I look forward to play again.”

Ghana will become the first African qualifier for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa if they maintain their 100 percent record by beating the Sudanese in Group D and Benin and Mali draw their match.

But the Black Star captain Stephen Appiah warned against complacency.

“It’s not a done deal,” he said. “There are a lot of surprises in football and we have to prevent that on Sunday.”

© 2009 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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