International

El Hadary ready to become AFCON's oldest player

2017-01-17 10:59
Essam El Hadary (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - If he plays in Egypt's opening Africa Cup of Nations fixture against Mali in Port-Gentil on Tuesday, goalkeeper Essam El Hadary will smash the record for the oldest player ever at the tournament.

El Hadary turned 44 on Sunday, leaving him poised to beat the previous mark set by his fellow Egyptian Hossam Hassan, who was a mere 39 years, five months and 24 days old when he played at the 2006 Cup of Nations.

El Hadary is a veteran of Egypt's victories on home soil in 2006, in 2008 and in 2010, before the Pharaohs failed to qualify for any of the last three tournaments.

He was also part of the squad that won the 1998 tournament in Burkina Faso, when current teammate Ramadan Sobhi of Stoke City was barely a year old.

"For Egypt it means a lot for us to be back after our absence from the past three tournaments. This is very important for us," said El Hadary, now the captain in his seventh Cup of Nations, on Monday.

"We are here to compete again and we are looking forward to winning the cup. Egyptians are looking forward to an eighth title.

"I have won it four times before but this time I am the captain and I am proud of that."

El Hadary was brought back into the Egypt team by Argentine coach Hector Cuper in time to help them clinch their qualification for the finals in Gabon and he has already stated his desire to appear at the 2018 World Cup in Russia - when he will be 45.

Described by Patrice Carteron, his former coach at Cairo club side Wadi Degla, as someone with "an absolutely exceptional mentality, lifestyle and diet," if he does play in Russia he would break the record for the oldest player in that tournament too.

Colombian goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon holds that record for now having played at the 2014 World Cup just after turning 43.

Read more on:    afcon 2017  |  soccer
NEXT ON SPORT24X

What To Read Next

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter

Featured

The 2017/18 PSL season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs
Vote

Do you think SAFA made the right choice in appointing Stuart Baxter as head coach of Bafana Bafana?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.