Highlights of MVP Ahmed Hassan’s international career

Karim Farouk, Tuesday 15 Nov 2011

Ahram Online looks back on the career of Ahmed Hassan who became the world's joint most-capped international player when he turned out for Egypt against Brazil on Monday

Ahmed Hassan

The debut

At the age of 20, Ahmed Hassan played his first international match for Egypt when Dutch coach Ruud Krol named him in the starting lineup for a friendly game against Ghana, 1-2, on 29 December 1995. The former Ismaily midfielder played for 80 minutes before being replaced by Zamalek’s midfielder Mohamed Kamouna. Hassan was included in the 23-man squad for the African Cup of Nations 1996, but unfortunately for him, he was injured and couldn’t feature in any of the games.

A dream final in 1998

Hassan was influential in Egypt’s successful campaign in the African Cup of Nations 1998. He produced an excellent performance throughout the biennial tournament crowned with an amazing curling goal in the 2-0 final victory against South Africa. Hassan and his teammates won the first trophy for Egypt in 12 years to match Ghana’s four-title record. Four months later he started his European adventure and joined Turkish side Kocaelispor in summer of 1998.

End of the longest drought

After going through a two-year goal drought, Ahmed Hassan was back to scoring in fashion against Denmark, 1-4, in a friendly game held in Cairo in 12 February 2003. The Genclerbirligii fired one of his trade-mark shots that tricked the Danish keeper Thomas Sorensen to break the deadlock. It was Hassan’s first goal in 25 months since his brace against Libya on 14 January 2001.

The home glory in 2006

Ahmed Hassan led his teammates to the African Cup of Nations title on home soil in 2006. He was crucial in the Pharaohs’ successful campaign, scoring against Libya, a brace against DR Congo and against Senegal in the semi-finals to end on top of the scorers’ chart with four goals. He also won the Most Valuable Player award after helping Egypt beat Ivory Coast in the final, delivering an outstanding performance.

World Cup dream revived

After a poor debut of their campaign struggling at home to a 1-1 draw against Zambia and then losing to Algeria 3-1, Egypt needed to win the remaining four matches to reach the World Cup finals. Playing away in Rwanda during a fasting day in Ramadan, Ahmed Hassan scored the winning goal to claim a precious victory 1-0 for the Pharaohs. They went on to defeat Zambia 1-0 and Algeria 2-0, but lost the decider against the Desert Foxes 1-0 in Sudan to book their trip to South Africa 2010.

The treble

The Pharaohs were heartbroken after the World Cup exit and missed two key players Mohamed Abou-Treika and Amr Zaki, both sidelined with injuries. But, again, Hassan showed what he is made of by raising his game to the top, working phenomenally to help his teammates claim a third straight African Cup of Nations’ title in Angola 2010 and claiming himself his fourth title and second Most Valuable Player award.

Tie for the record

In 14 November 2011, Ahmed Hassan matched the record of the world's most-capped player, held by Saudi keeper Mohamed El-Deayea with 178 international matches. The 36-year-old midfielder came off the bench in the 73rd minute (replacing midfielder Hosni Abd-Rabou) to take the armband from defender Wael Gomaa and equal the world record.

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