Egypt keeper El-Hadary: We need real matches

Eslam Omar, Tuesday 3 Apr 2012

Essam El-Hadary says that league stoppage has negatively effected the national team, and insists that friendly games are not enough preparation for the hard clashes the Pharaohs have ahead

Egypt's goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary (Photo: Reuters)

Egyptian national goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary has described the current situation of Egyptian football as “the hardest in its history.”

The 39-year-old veteran goalie, who has played for the most powerful clubs in the country, including Ahly, Zamalek, Ismaily and currently Ittihad of Alexandria, blamed the Premier League stoppage for the humble performance of the national team players.

“We have a really important match in the continental qualifiers (for the 2014 World Cup and 2013 Africa Cup of Nations) and the players need real competitions to get back to their best form,” the former Swiss FC Sion goalie announced in a statement on his official website.

The holder of three-successive African Cup of Nations trophies described the consecutive friendly games that American manager Bob Bradley’s plan to hold out-of-the-country closed camps as “not enough at all.”

The Pharaohs have just finished a training camp in Sudan in which they won two friendlies, Uganda 2-1 and Chad 4-0, and there are talks that they will have another camp in Lebanon between 12 and 18 April.

All football competitions in Egypt have been paused since 1 February when more than 70 Ahly supporters were killed in Port Said stadium after a Masry league game. Investigations into the incident are almost complete and a case will be brought to court this month.

Ahly hardcore fans, the Ultras Ahlawy, merged with their rivals, Zamalek’s Ultras White Knights, in an open sit-in, started last week, on front of the People Assembly demanding “justice and martyrs’ rights.”

“I hope the martyrs receive their rights and I demand the Egyptian Football Association speeds up the case for justice,” El-Hadary added.

The former Sudanese Merriekh player, who left them after a series of commitment problems, flirted with them saying that he “may return back to Sudan in June” as Brazilian coach Ricardro wants him back.

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