Egypt coach Cuper praises veteran goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary

Ahram Online , Tuesday 31 Jan 2017,
Essam El Hadary
Egypt's goalkeeper Essam El Hadary celebrates after winning their quarter-final soccer match of the 2017 African Cup of Nations against Morocco. (Reuters)

Egypt coach Hector Cuper praised experienced goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary ahead of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations semifinal against Burkina Faso on Wednesday.

"He is first on the training field and last to leave," the 61-year-old tactician told the AFP about El-Hadary on Tuesday.

El-Hadary, who broke the record as the oldest player ever to compete at the Africa Cup of Nations at age 44, is likely to start in the Libreville stadium clash.

He found himself guarding his favourite net alone after first-choice El-Shennawi of Zamalek sustained a hamstring injury during Egypt's first tournament game, just days after Ekramy picked up the same injury during training.

Despite the announcement of Ekramy's recovery, El-Hadary is expected to stay in charge during the entire tournament.

The former Ahly, Zamalek and Ismaily keeper, who is praised by both critics and fans, is bidding for his fifth Africa Cup of Nations trophy.

El-Hadary has kept the Pharaohs' sheet clean for all four games, a goalless draw against Mali in the opener and three successive 1-0 victories over Uganda, Ghana and Moroccoa.

One day after Egypt take on Burkina Faso, Cameroon and Ghana will compete in the same round in southeastern city Franceville.

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

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Group A W D L P
2 1 0 7
Burkina Faso
1 1 1 4
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1 1 1 4
0 1 2 1
Group B W D L P
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1 0 2 3
Group C W D L P
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Group D W D L P
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0 1 2 1
Group F W D L P
2 1 0 7
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1 0 2 3
0 0 3 0