AFCON 2017: Egyptian El Hadary set new record

Essam El Hadary
Photo: FIFA

Egyptian veteran goalkeeper, Essam El Hadary, on Tuesday night set a milestone record when he featured for his country at the age of 44 against Mali at the ongoing AFCON Gabon 2017.

The veteran goalkeeper who now holds the record of being the oldest player to grace the AFCON, after coming as 25th minute substitute to the injured first choice goalkeeper, Ahmed El Shannawy.

El Hadary, born Jan. 15, 1973 in Damietta, also regarded as one of the best African goalkeepers of all time, has 148 caps for his country and has yet to look back since his first appearance for the team on July 29, 1996, in a 2-0 win over Tanzania.

The legendary shot stopper, who still man the post for Egyptian club, Wadi Degla, is also eight-time champion of Egyptian league with Al Ahly 1996/1997, 1997/1998, 1998/1999, 1999/2000, 2004/2005, 2006/2007, and 2007/2008.

El Hadary was also part of the all-conquering Al Ahly team that won back-to-back African Champions League in 2004/2005 and 2005/2006. He has won it previously with the team in 2000/2001.

Other laurels won by El Hadary include Swiss Cup with FC Sion in 2009, and four times Egyptian Cup winner, 2000/2001, 2002/2003, 2005/2006 and 2006/2007.

Coming to the AFCON 2017, El Hadary is one of the most decorated players in the history of the competition having won it four times, 1998, 2006, 2008 and 2010, more than countries like Nigeria and Ghana.

He was also named the best goalkeeper in all the Nations Cup won by Egypt except in 1998.

The Egyptian iconic goalkeeper has however vowed to carry on in-between the sticks until he is 50 years.

Already, he is the world record holder of oldest goalkeeper after eclipsing the record set by Colombian goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon who starred against Brazil in the Olympic qualifiers at the age of 43 in Brazil.

El Hadary will now be hoping to help his country seven-time winners to replicate that which has been their trademark having missed the glamorous competition for seven years, 2010 third in a row.

The highly dependable goalkeeper was also able to keep a clean sheet at 0-0 against the Malian side in the Group D opener in Port-Gentil.

The Argentine Hector Cuper side will now face Uganda who were defeated by Ghana 1-0 in the next Group D fixture at the ongoing AFCON.


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