Egypt keeper El-Hadary hits back at critics after sustaining injury

Hatem Maher, Friday 30 Mar 2012

Egypt’s veteran keeper says he remains as solid as ever, hits back at critics calling on him to hang up his gloves

Essam El-Hadary

Essam El-Hadary said he is ready to defy critics once again and maintain his status as a key member of Egypt’s squad.

The veteran keeper, regarded by many as the best shot-stopper in Egypt’s history, sustained a hamstring injury during the team’s 2-1 friendly victory over Uganda in Sudan on Thursday.

He hurt his groin after a mix-up with central defender Mahmoud Fathallah which helped Uganda notch up the opener after 34 minutes

A local sports website asked fans whether “the ageing” El-Hadary was still capable of playing at the highest level following the injury.

“I underwent scans which showed that the injury is minor. I need a short period of time to recover,” the 39-year-old, who plays for Ittihad of Alexandria, said on his website on Friday.

“For those who say I’m ageing that I should retire: I think a muscle strain every 12 years is a good rate for any young or old player,” he sarcastically added.

El-Hadary played a key role in helping Egypt blossom during the past seven years, steering them to three consecutive African Cup of Nations triumphs.

He also famously pulled off a string of impressive saves as Egypt claimed an upset 1-0 victory over then world champions Italy in the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup in South Africa.

However, his regular place between the sticks is not guaranteed under American coach Bob Bradley, who is mainly relying on promising keeper Ahmed El-Shennawy.

“I still have many things to offer in football. The impolite media have many times said I should retire but I proved them wrong every time,” El-Hadary added.

“I produced some fine displays in the 2012 Nations Cup qualifiers, and all people praised me for that.”

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