Egypt's El-Hadary sets record for oldest player in Nations Cup history

Ahram Online , Tuesday 17 Jan 2017,
Egypt's goalkeeper Essam El Hadrey celebrates after his team scored a goal during the Egypt v Ghana 2018 World Cup Qualifying match in Alexandria, Egypt. (Reuters)

Veteran Egyptian goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary made history after becoming the oldest player to feature in the African Cup of Nations on Tuesday.

The 44-year-old was introduced on 24 minutes after Zamalek's Ahmed El-Shennawi, who was given the nod in the opening Group D clash against Mali, picked up what looked like a hamstring injury.

El-Hadary, who turned 44 on Saturday, beat the record of former teammate Hossam Hassan, Egypt's all-time leading scorer who was 39 when he took part in the 2006 Nations Cup on home soil.

Egyptian reports said earlier in the day that El-Hadary expressed his anger after learning that he would start on the bench.

However, he vehemently denied the reports, saying he had no problems with coach Hector Cuper.

Hadary, who made his Egypt debut in 1996, is also one tournament short of equaling the record for most Nations Cup appearances, held by former Egypt skipper Ahmed Hassan and ex-Cameroon defender Rigobert Song who played in eight editions. 

The former Ahly and Zamalek keeper has only missed the 2004 Nations Cup in Tunisia since making his first appearance in 1998. 

He also remains one of only two players, alongside veteran right-back Ahmed Fathi, from the golden generation that gave Egypt three consecutive Nations Cup titles in 2006, 2008 and 2010 under ex-boss Hassan Shehata.

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