Pakistan hockey coach, Dutchman Siegfried Aikman, joins players in Ramzan fasting | Hockey News

NEW DELHI: Foreigners coaching sports teams in the subcontinent is not a new phenomenon. However, what the Dutch Siegfried Aikman doing is probably something very new.
Aikman, adapting to his surroundings as a coach of Pakistan man hockey decided to join the players in something that means a lot to them.
It was the month of Ramzan, leading up to Eid al-Fitr in less than 30 days. Between the month-long fasting, meals can only be eaten before and after sunset. Members of the Muslim community, including top sports athletes, follow Ramzan etiquette, which can be a very difficult thing to do with high performance sports training.
Schedules are subject to change, diet plans require rest, and training programs are required to be redrawn.
This was Aikman’s first experience. When the Pakistani players were allowed to take a break from training at the national camp to be with their families on Ramzan’s first day, Aikman made a decision: he also started a vegetarian diet.

Aikman told from Pakistan: “It’s something I’ve been thinking about because it’s an opportunity to experience what the players go through.
While that decision by Aikman warmed Pakistanis, it presented him with various challenges as the team’s coach.
The Dutchman is rearranging his training schedule to incorporate requirements regarding Ramzan, as he takes a break to answer questions from
“How I’m planning a camping trip, organizing my practice schedule. I read an article written by one of our FIH coaches about Ramzan and high-performance hockey, and he suggested it. that we should train in the evening, so that the players could Aikman, the head coach of the Japanese men’s team, said before accepting the offer from Pakistan Hockey Federation last year.
“I thought, let me experience what they’re going through because that’s the best way to understand what’s going on. That’s why I decided to give it a try,” Aikman told


(Twitter photo)
The Pakistan team is preparing for the very important Asian Cup scheduled to be held in Indonesia at the end of May. A place in the top 4 will guarantee a place in the 2023 World Cup in India.
That is the immediate priority of Pakistani hockey, after major setbacks by missing out on the Olympics and falling to 18th place in the International Hockey Federation (FIH) men’s team standings.
Known for being very methodical in his approach, Aikman also takes his fasting challenge very seriously.
“I have a schedule for Ramzan … the latest time you can eat in the morning and from when you can start eating in the evening,” he says.
Breaking Ramzan fast in the evening is called ‘Iftar‘.


(Aikman with Pakistani players – Photo: TOI arranged)
On Ramzan’s first day, Aikman wakes up at 3:30 a.m. and eats all he wants at 4:25 a.m., before going back to sleep.
“I try to get a little more sleep in the morning so that the first (several) hours pass,” he says.
“During the day, I started counting the hours left to go (before he could eat again), because I was getting hungrier. I wasn’t thirsty,” the 62-year-old told
He made a quick break over the weekend watching the Indian men take on England in the FIH Pro League.
“In the afternoon I got a bit of a headache, maybe from dehydration or hunger, I don’t know. But it’s not that I’m really hungry… I had my real dinner around 8:30 or 8:30 and watched the game. India vs England while I was eating”, he shared more about his first fasting experience.

But to continue that eating habit for a month is not something Aikman is certain of.
“It feels great. I’ve decided to keep fasting for about a week. Then I’ll have a better picture (if I can continue or not). I just want to see how it goes. come on,” he said, before signing. said, “That’s what I’m doing from my heart.”

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