With seven AFCON trophies to their name, Egypt remains the most successful national team in Africa. The country also boasts of having a fierce goalkeeper, Essam El-Hadary, who’s arguably the most successful in Africa – having represented Egypt 156 times and won the AFCON four times with the country.
In January, he made history at 44 as the oldest player ever to appear in an AFCON match.
As a player who’s been a vital part of the country’s success story in football, El-Hadary will take part in the 2018 World Cup in Russia – where he will go into the record books as the oldest player ever in the prestigious tournament.
That record is currently held by Colombian goalkeeper, Faryd Mondragón, who played in a 2014 match against Japan at 43 years and three days. Before Mondragón, the record was held by Cameroonian legend, Roger Milla, who became the oldest goalscorer in a World Cup tournament at 42.
(Photo: AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
With these records waiting to be snatched up, Egypt’s good luck charm, El-Hadary has big shoes to fill. Obviously, he’s going to increase the record to 45 years and a few months, but what remains to be seen is if he’ll pull his 2001 trick in which he scored a goal at the African Super Cup. After all, there’s no law against becoming the oldest player and the oldest goalscorer at the World Cup simultaneously.
Milla retired shortly after the 1994 World Cup while Mondragón retired after the 2014 edition. Whether El-Hadary will take a leaf from them and retire after Russia 2018 is a question that’ll be answered when the time comes.