Al-Merreikh derby win boosts El-Hadary’s morale

Hatem Maher , Saturday 12 Mar 2011

Egypt goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary says he is relieved after his Sudanese adventure starts with two wins

Essam El-Hadary

Essam El-Hadary said Al-Merreikh’s precious 1-0 win over arch-rivals Al-Hilal in Friday’s Sudanese league game boosted his morale following hard times during the past 10 months.

The Egypt goalie was involved in several disputes with his former club Zamalek last year before being hit with a four-month suspension by world governing body FIFA for violating his contract with Ahly to join Swiss side Sion in 2008.

He opted to move to Al-Merreikh during the January transfer window after ending a brief and disappointing spell with Zamalek.

El-Hadary helped Al-Merreikh open their league campaign in convincing fashion, beating Hilal Al-Sahel 2-1 in the opener before overcoming Al-Hilal in a much-anticipated derby.

“I can’t describe my feelings now, my morale is sky high. This win is the most valuable one for me in more than 10 months,” the veteran goalie, 38, said on his personal website.

“I’m pleased with my display, I think I dealt with all opposing attacks. Al-Merreikh supporters can also asses my display better." “I dedicate this victory to (Egyptian coach) Hossam El-Badry, who exerted much effort to prepare players for that important game.”

The match was played behind closed doors due to the mounting tensions between the two sides. “I missed the fans a lot. It was strange to play such a high-profile game without spectators, whom I consider the 12th player in any team,” El-Hadary added.

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