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Ancient Egypt: age-defying goalkeeper wins African cup selection

El-Hadary made his debut for Egypt in 1996 [AFP]

Date of publication: 5 January, 2017

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Essam el-Hadary says he has no plans to hang up his boots any time soon and wants to play in the 2018 World Cup in Russia

Egypt has named 43-year-old veteran goalkeeper Essam el-Hadary in their final squad for the African Cup of Nations set to get underway in Gabon on 14 January.

If selected in the competition el-Hadary, who plays football for Cairo-based club Wadi Degla SC, will become the oldest ever player to play in the competition, beating the record of compatriot Hossam Hassan, who played in the 2006 African Cup of Nations aged 39.

But el-Hadary has no plans to make the tournament his final international competition. Speaking in June last year the shot stopper told BBC that he planned to play in the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

"I will fight to reach the World Cup … I don't care about my age, I train like I am 20 years old."

El-Hadary made his international debut for the Pharaohs in 1996, has accumulated 147 caps, and has previously won the African Cup of Nations four times (1998, 2006, 2008, 2010).

On all of these occasions, with the exception of the 1998 tournament, he was named the best goalkeeper in the competition.

Egypt are set to play their opening match of the tournament against Mali in Port Gentil on 17 January with Argentinian coach Hector Cuper hoping for a strong showing from the Pharoahs who have not played in an African Cup of Nations since they last won the title in 2010.

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