El Hadary: Egypt goalie elated for World Cup experience

Egypt goalkeeper Essam El Hadary will finally have a chance on a World Cup team starting lineup, or the dugout, when the Pharaohs face Uruguay in their first group stage game on Friday.

The six-time African champions return to the biggest tourney in world football after a 28-year wait. Hadary, 45 has toiled for this opportunity and will be leading the side to the big stage.

“I have dealt with three generations of players, each one of them was different but this generation is just great. People go on about me being 45, but I feel I am like my teammates — like I am 20.

“This is a great experience. For 25 years, my teammates now and then, have worked so hard to reach the World Cup only to be frustrated at the end. Now, our dream has been fulfilled,” the three-time Afcon winner told reporters at a news conference ahead of their Uruguay contest.

El Hadary would become the oldest player to play in a World Cup, if handed the nod in post against Uruguay. Colombia goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon, who was 43 when he played at the last World Cup in Brazil, holds the record.

El Hadary trains ahead of first game (Image: Egypt Football Association)

For the Al Ahly legend, team achievement comes ahead of personal glory.

“The personal record is for the national team especially my teammates if I reach such record. Football isn’t an individual sport, it’s a team sport.”

“I have always used Mohamed Salah as an example, he’s nothing without the national team players, and we are nothing without him,” the top star concluded.

El Hadary faces competition from Sherif Ekramy and Ahmed El Shennawy. Egypt gaffer Hector Cuper will decide the man for his goalpost.

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