'I will not let anything stop me,' Egypt's keeper El-Hadary

Ahram Online , Thursday 14 Dec 2017

Egypt's goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary (Reuters)

Egypt's 44-year-old keeper Essam El-Hadary said on Thursday he is keen to keep his place as the Pharaohs keeper, adding he will do his best to remain at his post.

The veteran keeper played a vital role with the Pharaohs in their successful qualifying campaign that saw Egypt reach the World Cup for the first time since 1990.

"Since qualifying for Russia 2018, I’ve had the drive to push myself even further," El-Hadary told FIFA on Thursday.

I work out in the morning before I join group training sessions with the team. I thank God for all this.

"I’m always focused on constantly developing. I won't let anything stop me. I still have the ambition to play in the World Cup. I want to secure a place in the national team through my efforts and achievements, not through my name and history."

El-Hadary insisted that the Pharaohs' group in the next year's World Cup is not easy refusing to underestimate Egypt's rivals in the group.

"At a World Cup, there are no weak teams," El-Hadary said. "We have many examples of teams that were seen as ordinary but then defeated big-name sides.”

"I heard many people say they were happy we didn’t end up in a group with Germany, Brazil, Spain or Argentina." 

"But we, the players, know the strength of our rivals in the group."

The Egyptians sounded their optimism following the World Cup draw which paired them with hosts Russia, Uruguay and Saudi Arabia earlier this month.

"Russia, as the host nation supported by legions of fans, will be doing everything to qualify. Uruguay are a vastly experienced South American team with top notch strikers like [Luis] Suarez and [Edinson] Cavani. As for Saudi Arabia, our encounter will certainly be wonderful. In all-Arab matches, you cannot say one side is a stronger favourite than the other."

The international keeper believes that unity is the secret of the Pharaohs’ success, stressing that players are determined to defend the reputation of Egyptian football.

"We’re a strong unit, and not just on the pitch: we’re one family with one objective, which is to raise the profile of Egypt and Egyptian football. We want to do it and put a smile on the faces of tens of millions of people."

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