Former Pharaohs keeper El-Hadary close to Egypt league return

Ahmed Abd El Rasoul , Saturday 23 Nov 2013

Veteran keeper Essam El-Hadary is reportedly close to wearing the Suez Canal Club jersey and returning to home league play after Sudan sojourn

Essam El-Hadary

Former Egypt goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary is reportedly close to returning to play in the Egyptian league as his current contract with Sudanese side Merreikh ends this month.

According to Kuwaiti newspaper Alrai, the former Ahly, Zamalek, Ismaily and Ittihad keeper is close to joining Suez Canal Club, recently promoted to the Egyptian Premier League after playing the last 11 years in the low ranks.

"The coach of Suez Canal Club is currently waiting for final approval from the club president to sign El-Hadary in the coming winter transfer window in January," the newspaper said.

El-Hadary, who has not featured for Merreikh since receiving a hit to the nose during a league match in September, is reportedly keen on returning to play in Egypt, and being with his family.

The 40-year-old player, arguably Egypt’s best-ever goalkeeper, used to be the Pharaohs' undisputed number one but abruptly fell out of favour after rejecting a bench role during a friendly game against Chile in February.

He has not been called up to the Egypt roster since then, with American coach Bob Bradley relying on Ahly’s Sherif Ekramy in the World Cup qualifying campaign.

Egypt failed to end a 24-year absence from the World Cup after their 7-3 aggregate defeat against Ghana in the final playoffs.

El-Hadary, who made his name with Cairo giants Ahly and had an unsuccessful stint with crosstown rivals Zamalek, played a key role in helping Egypt win three consecutive African Cup of Nations titles in 2006, 2008 and 2010.

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