Egypt’s veteran keeper El-Hadary hints at return to international football

Ahmed Abd El Rasoul , Monday 28 Jan 2019,
Egypt’s veteran keeper El-Hadary hints at a return to international football (Photo: Official facebook page)

As we get closer to the start of the upcoming African Cup of Nations, which will be hosted by Egypt this summer, veteran Egyptian goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary has hinted that he could be returning to international football despite announcing his retirement months ago.

“My first and last target is to be Egypt’s goalkeeper in the coming African Cup,” read a short statement on the player’s official Facebook page on Tuesday.

After his "biggest dream came true" in playing in the World Cup last summer, as well as breaking the record for the oldest player in history to feature at the World Cup, El-Harady announced last August his retirement from international football at the age of 45.

"Everything has a beginning and an end. After a long time of thinking, I decided to retire from playing internationally," the former Ahly and Zamalek star said in a long statement at the time.

"My biggest dream was to play at the World Cup, and thank God for helping me write my country's name in history by being the oldest player to ever take part in the tournament," he added.

El-Hadary, who made 159 appearances with the Pharaohs, won the African Cup four times with Egypt in 1998, 2006, 2008 and 2010. The former Egypt skipper was named the tournament’s best goalie on all four occasions.

A new achievement on the way

Earlier in January, Egypt was granted the hosting rights of the 2019 African Cup of Nations after winning a majority of votes by the executive committee of the Confederation of African Football (CAF).

Despite being without a club since parting ways with Ismaily earlier this month, El-Hadary seems determined to write a new chapter in his glittering international career if he plays in the African Cup at home this summer.

“I will sign for Egyptian League club Nogoum FC within hours. I preferred their offer to enjoy more stability, calm and play away of pressure,” the veteran goalie told ON Sport TV channel on Sunday.

“My ambition does not stop. Joining the new team will be a new challenge for me. I will do my best in the coming period to represent Egypt in the African cup,” he concluded.

Under new coach Javier Aguirre, Egypt have already booked a place in the 2019 African Cup of Nations as they now sit in second place with 12 points in Group J of the qualifiers. Rivals Tunisia (12) top the group on head-to-head goal difference.

The 2019 AFCON is scheduled to take place from 21 June to 13 July, having been moved from January/February to avoid club-versus-country clashes.

The Pharaohs have won the prestigious competition seven times.

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

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