Little surprise in that as Cisse is currently their national team’s captain and most high profile player, playing in the all powerful English Premier League.
If his selection is confirmed then you can’t blame the player either for seizing the opportunity, as the tennis players swiftly embraced the opportunity when it opened up to them, no doubt many high profile footballers will want to add ‘Olympian’ to their CV.
From the Newcastle United perspective though it does add to a worry that Cisse will have to perform miracles to continue his explosive start to his career at St.James’ Park.
By the time the Premier League kicks off on the weekend of Saturday 18th August, Papiss Cisse will have had a year of almost non-stop football and travelling.
Last August he started the season for Freiburg in the Bundesliga, before heading off to the African Cup of Nations in January, pausing only to sign up with Newcastle United.
He then completed that brilliant second half of the season for Newcastle as he helped inspire United into fifth. No sooner had the season finished than he was off to captain his country in friendlies and World Cup qualifiers.
Demba Ba’s inauspicious start to last season was later blamed in part on his observance of Ramadan leading to him not being in 100% physical condition for those opening matches, now it is expected Cisse will also be observing this as part of his faith.
This year the period of Ramadan begins on 20th July and lasts until….18th August, the day Newcastle are currently scheduled to kick off. I know there will be people who will go down the lines of ‘…all that money they get, should be able to play five times a day etc etc’ but the bottom line is that the spirit might be willing but there has to be serious doubts as to whether Cisse will be hitting the ground running once the season starts.
This of course is on top of exactly how much time Cisse will have had to spend with his Newcastle team mates, old and new, due to his other obligations?
They often say the second season can be the hardest for a player, let’s hope Papiss Cisse is the exception to the rule.
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