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Rapids Notebook: Nyassi will not fully observe Ramadan

Sanna Nyassi

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COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — Sanna Nyassi needs every ounce of energy to keep up his current sparkling form for the Colorado Rapids. That’s why he won’t be fully observing Ramadan, the month of the Islamic calendar that lasts most of August and which requires fasting between sunrise and sunset.

A devout Muslim, the Gambian attacker has exploded to score four goals in the three games since Conor Casey went down with a season-ending injury. Of the eight goals the Rapids have scored in those three games, Nyassi has played a key role in six of them.

Nyassi explained that he used to fast during Ramadan while he was with the Seattle Sounders, but the club wasn’t entirely happy with him doing that.

“I consulted with leaders back home [in Gambia] and I was told that, if soccer is my main source of income, and if it’s going to cost you your job, I should not do it,” he told MLSsoccer.com. “I’ve carried that into my time at the Rapids.”

Nyassi, who is expected to continue his partnership upfront with Omar Cummings in Friday's home game against the Columbus Crew, said he will fast when he has days off during the Ramadan period and he will also fast during the offseason to make up for any missed days.

Shirt deal stalls

The Rapids' attempt to secure a possible jersey sponsorship deal may now be a little further off than originally desired.

“There’s no update at this time,” a club spokesman told MLSsoccer.com this week. “We continue working toward making a shirt sponsorship happen, but there’s no timeline as we want to find the best fit for our principal partner.”

The MLS Cup champions are known to be talking with a number of parties about possible sponsorship. Those companies are both locally based and headquartered outside of Colorado, chief marketing officer Tim Hinchey has said.

Hinchey has expressed confidence a deal will be done by the end of the year. He has said the league average for sponsorship deals is $2 million. Thirteen of the 18 MLS clubs now have jersey sponsorship.

“Our objective has always been this year, and I know it will be a 2011 result,” he said earlier this year. “I don’t see this taking us past the regular season and I would like to think it will be before the end of July.”

Rapids head coach Gary Smith recently said he has not had any substantive discussions about new players coming in through any jersey sponsorship.


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