Essam El Hadary chases record fifth AFCON crown with Egypt heading into final with Cameroon
Posted: 4 February 2017 Time: 12:24
The legendary Essam El Hadary will be seeking his fifth AFCON title when he leads The Pharaohs against The Indomitable Lions in the final in Libreville on Sunday (21h00 SA time).
As the oldest (44) player to ever feature in this tournament El Hadary is also the only survivor from the squads of both Egypt and Cameroon that contested the 2008 final of this competition – won by the North Africans.
El Hadary first won the Nations Cup back in 1998 when Egypt overcame Bafana Bafana in the final in Burkina Faso.
Eight years later he won the second of what will go on to be a treble of consecutive titles (2006, 2008 and 2010) which pushed him to the proud record of four titles.
He is now on the brink of standing out as the only man to ever win five titles – a feat he will accomplish if Egypt get over the final hurdle posed by Cameroon.
Having arrived at this tournament as a back-up keeper El Hadary has been commanding since coming in as a substitute for Ahmed Al Shenawy in the first match against Mali, and his two saves in the semi-final penalty shootout took Egypt to their ninth final.
In the previous eight finals they have only lost once – which was back in 1962.
The Pharaohs have gone up the podium as champions in all of the last finals that they have reached stretching back all the way to 1986 when they overcame the same Indomitable Lions 5-4 on penalties.
For El Hadary he has only conceded just a single goal to date in this competition and knows that another clean sheet will set him up for glory yet again in what will be his 153rd cap.
“It is in us by nature to want to win and we have vowed to make it happen again,” said the Egypt captain this week.
By Lovemore Moyo in Gabon, courtesy of SuperSport