Egypt's World Cup player profiles: Hadary, the age-defying goalkeeper

Ahram Online , Ahram Online , Friday 8 Jun 2018,

Essam El-Hadary, Egypt's 45-year-old keeper, remains young at heart as he gets ready to make history by becoming the oldest player ever to feature in the World Cup.

The Saudi Arabia-based guardian will beat the record of former Colombia keeper Faryd Mondragon, who was 43 when he took part in the 2014 World Cup, should he start in Egypt's opening game against Uruguay on 15 June.

He is expected to be coach Hector Cuper's number-one choice between the sticks amid little competition from Ahly duo Sherif Ekramy and Mohamed El-Shennawi after his main challenger, Zamalek's Ahmed El-Shennawi, was ruled out of the World Cup with injury.

"I'm very happy to play at the World Cup, and that is a message to all footballers and others around the world, that you should believe in your dreams and fight to make them come true," Hadary told BBC Sport in April.

"My age is 45 years old, but for me, this is just a number on paper.

"I train hard every day, I don't know what the word 'impossible' means. I will keep fighting until the World Cup to have the chance to play and defend my homeland colours."

Hadary played an instrumental role in steering Egypt to a place in the African Nations final in early 2017 after a stroke of luck saw him come off the bench in the opening game against Mali, replacing the injured Ahmed El-Shennawi.

He has since not looked back, reclaiming his regular place and putting in a series of convincing performances that culminated in a 2-1 victory over Congo in a decisive World Cup qualifying clash last October in Alexandria, where he produced a great first-half save to deny the visitors from scoring.

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