Egypt prepared defender and midfielder for goalkeeping position at Nations Cup

With the injury of two goalkeepers, the runners-up of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations prepared two players to fill El-Hadary's position if necessary

Ahram Online , Tuesday 7 Feb 2017,
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Essam El Hadrey
Egypt's goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary reacts after loosing 2-1 to Cameroon in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations final football match between Egypt and Cameroon at the Stade de l'Amitie Sino-Gabonaise in Libreville on February 5, 2017. (AFP)

Egypt defender Saad Samir and midfielder Ramadan Sobhi were prepared as possible substitutes for the goalkeeping position at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations, Samir revealed on Monday.

"Ramadan and I performed goalkeeping trainings in Gabon just in case," the 27-year-old Ahly defender told an Egyptian TV program.

Egypt, who missed their bid for an eighth title after losing 2-1 to Cameroon in the final Sunday, suffered a blow in the goalkeeping position early on in the tournament.

First-choice keeper Ahmed El-Shennawi of Zamalek sustained a hamstring injury during Egypt's first tournament game, just days after Ahly's Sherif Ekramy picked up the same injury during trainings.

Veteran 44-year-old keeper Essam El-Hadary found himself guarding his favorite net alone for the remaineder of the Nations Cup. He kept a clean sheet for four successive games and broke a record as the oldest player ever to play in the tournament.

The Pharaohs, who received only three goals in the tournament, were forced to think of possible substitutes for El-Hadary in case the former Ahly, Zamalek and Ismaily player sustained an injury too.

"A very genuine and loyal morale was obvious in our trainings. I felt sad when we left Gabon," Samir expressed.

The record holders of seven trophies, Egypt took the lead of the group stage with a goalless draw against Mali and two 1-0 victories over Uganda and Ghana.

The Pharaohs defeated Morocco 1-0 in the quarterfinals in a tough game before passing Burkina Faso with penalty shootouts, thanks to El-Hadary.

Despite losing the final, Egypt won the appreciation of fans and critics and were welcomed home at the airport by the country's president Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

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