El Hadary, grand old man of Egypt

Deccan Chronicle - - BUSINESS -

Moscow, June 14: Egypt’s 45-year-old goal­keeper Es­sam El Hadary says he feels like he’s 20 again.

That’s a dream com­bi­na­tion: A 20-year-old with the vast ex­pe­ri­ence gained from a ca­reer stretch­ing nearly three decades.

“I have dealt with three gen­er­a­tions of play­ers, each one of them was dif­fer­ent,” El Hadary said in a re­cent tele­vi­sion in­ter­view. “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.”

El Hadary isn’t as­sured of get­ting any game time for Egypt in the World Cup in Rus­sia but if he does, he’ll make his­tory as the old­est per­son to play in a World Cup.

El Hadary has been show­ing full com­mit­ment to earn­ing a start­ing spot.

El Hadary, who en­joys celebrity sta­tus in Egypt, has rarely spo­ken about the age record, pre­fer­ring in­stead to fo­cus on the am­bi­tions of the Pharaohs in their first World Cup since 1990. It’s a re­turn that has given many of Egypt’s 100 mil­lion peo­ple a wel­come re­prieve amid harsh eco­nomic con­di­tions.

Be­ing in the World Cup is a par­tic­u­larly spe­cial oc­ca­sion for El Hadary. “I have a goal that I have dreamt of all my life: That we qual­ify for the sec­ond round,” he said. —AP

AP

Egypt goal­keeper Es­sam El Hadary at a press con­fer­ence on Thursday, eve of their match against Uruguay. —

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