Birmingham Women boss Carla Ward heaped praise on “outstanding youngster” Layla Banaras for the way she has coped with playing football through Ramadan.
The 15-year-old academy player felt, when fasting for the first time last year, that there was no guidance available for footballers observing Ramadan, despite training several times a week and playing a match at the weekend, so got together with a club nutritionist to do something about it.
Blues said earlier this month that the pair worked together to establish a nutrition plan for “Muslim athletes at all standards that will help them to continue playing sport to the best of their ability during Ramadan”.
Ward does not know Banaras very well but has been impressed by what she has seen, labelling her “someone that really wants to drive standards”.
Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday morning, Ward said: “During Ramadan she decided to make sure that the best way she was hydrated was to cover herself in water, which was a good way to get water into her body, and she came up with a few variations.
“Credit to her, fascinating youngster and certainly it didn’t stop her playing, it didn’t stop her scoring goals and nothing was going to stand in her way of making sure through Ramadan she could play, so outstanding youngster.”
When asked about her dealings with the youngster, the City boss said: “I met her a couple of weeks ago when I met some of the youngsters. She’s a fascinating youngster, someone that really wants to drive standards.”