‘Special to experience together’

‘Special to experience together’
Taabouni, Kökcü and Idrissi

NOS Football

  • Jorrit Hansen

    Follows Feyenoord on behalf of NOS Sport

  • Jorrit Hansen

    Follows Feyenoord on behalf of NOS Sport

“It’s something spiritual after all. You have something in your head that gives you more strength. I have to hold onto that for after Ramadan.” Orkun Kökcü is not bothered by Ramadan while playing soccer. On the contrary, he gets extra strength from fasting. He wanted to share that with people from Rotterdam.

Feyenoord therefore organized an iftar at De Kuip on the initiative of Kökcü and his teammates Oussama Idrissi and Mo Taabouni. With 97 fellow city residents who could use a helping hand, the three enjoyed the meal that may be consumed after a day of fasting.

Quickly arranged

“I came up with the idea,” Kökcü explains. “I try to give away a dinner at the mosque every year. This year I was talking to Mo and Oussama about whether it wouldn’t be fun to arrange a dinner together with Feyenoord. We came up with the idea about a week and a half ago, so the club quickly arranged it.”

Feyenoorders organize iftar: ‘Was arranged within two weeks’

Dates, Turkish bread with spreads, couscous salad, chicken stew and baklava. A small sample of the extensive menu that Feyenoord put together. “The club and the social department worked hard to organize this,” said general manager Dennis te Kloese.

“It’s a nice initiative. It also says something about the boys. They are social and committed to others. Very disciplined in their beliefs and convictions. That does speak in their favor. It’s a very positive evening. And the food is very good, I must say.”

It’s cozy

Friends Bassam and Musheer are two of the attendees. The duo, who are from Yemen, are at De Kuip with their children. “When I came to the Netherlands, I kept hearing that this is such a hospitable country,” Bassam says. “Today I feel that about everything. And as the Dutch put it so nicely: it’s cozy.”

“It’s great that Feyenoord is so multicultural,” Musheer added. “We were also here with the Christmas dinner the club organized. We feel extremely welcome at Feyenoord. The iftar is very important for Muslims. It’s special to experience that here with everyone.”

‘Trek we all have’

Kökcü, Idrissi and Taabouni share the table with some lucky people. They also attend prayer in one of the two business units provided. As top soccer players, the three would be allowed to forgo fasting on game days, but that is not an option for them. Nor is it necessary, as fasting and playing soccer are perfectly compatible for them.

The players and their guests enjoy the meal

“Cravings we all have from time to time,” Kökcü explained. “It’s putting yourself over that. When we train, we wake up early. Then it’s extra tough, though. Today I was able to sleep in and have a little more energy to get through the day.”

Indeed, on the pitch, Ramadan does not seem to affect Kökcü. Against AS Roma, for example, he was the frontrunner for ninety minutes against a fierce Feyenoord. And after the match? Finally eating. “But not much. A date and a sip of water. Otherwise you get a blow-up belly.”

Kayleigh Williams