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Essam El-Hadary
Personal information
Full name Essam Kamal Tawfik El-Hadary
Date of birth January 15, 1973 (1973-01-15) (age 37)
Place of birth Damietta, Egypt
Height 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)
Playing position Goalkeeper
Club information
Current club Ismaily
Number 19
Youth career
1991-1993 Damietta Club
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1993-1996 Damietta Club 58 (0)
1996–2008 Al-Ahly 510 (1)
2008-2009 FC Sion 32 (0)
2009- Ismaily 14 (0)
National team
1996- Egypt 119 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 23/12/2009.

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 31/1/2010

Essam El-Hadary (Arabic: عصام الدين كمال توفيق الحضري‎) (born January 15, 1973) is an Egyptian goalkeeper, playing for Egyptian Premier League side Ismaily.



The story of young Essam El-Hadary with football started like most Egyptian kids, from the streets, Essam El-Hadary, the 6 year old boy was the most distinguished forward attack in the streets of his quiet city, Kafer El Bati’, where he used to play football daily with his friends and older neighbors. In one of those friendly matches he had to play in the goalkeeper position, and that was the turning point that drew the whole career of young El-Hadary. He succeeded in playing in that position that he became the main goalkeeper of the little team due to his bravery and self-sacrifice in defending his net. He used to watch the former Egyptian goalkeepers like Ekramy, Thabet Elbatal and Adel El Ma’mour and imitated them. El-Hadary, the father, was hoping that he youngest son Essam would finish school and go to college, he did not wish that Essam would spent his life working in the small workshop that he owned. Young Essam totally agreed with his father about not wanting to spend his life working in the small workshop of his father but inside his heart he had a different dream for his life rather than going to school and finishing his education years. Football was totally consuming his dreams and his heart and obtaining a university degree was far from his dreams. El-Hadary the father did everything possible to keep Essam from playing football. He used to burn his training suite in front of him to make him feel how wrong it is to quit his lessons and pay attention to football, but the stubborn boy wouldn't give up. Essam eventually joined the agricultural school in his town only because they had the best football team among the high schools in the town. In no time young El-Hadary became the main goalkeeper of the school's team. Strange as it may seem the young boy didn’t only become the best goalkeeper in the league of high schools but he was the best goalie as well! He was known for kicking the ball from one net to the other and scoring goals in the opponent’s team net. His teachers saw in him a young blooming talent and they helped him join the under 21 team in the Demitta team (the main football team of the town). By that time the father of El-Hadary (Haj) Kamal El-Hadary almost reached the point of despair to make Essam quit football. The father’s last attempt to make his son quit was to refuse to give him any money to join the under 21 team training in Demietta, which was 7 Km away from his hometown. Even that didn't make the young boy quit. He used to jog daily with his dear friend Ali El Atrash 7 Km from Kafr El Bati’ city to Demietta and back to join his daily training. He kept in his mind that it was a part of his daily training. It all made the stubborn boy more determined and strong willed. Being part of the under 21 team in Demietta was the real beginning of Essam, he first joined the 2nd Juniors team and was rapidly promoted to the first juniors team. By that time many 1st league teams kept an eye on him and wanted him to join their teams. Essam saw that if he to achieve anything in the football career it has to start from the team of his home town Demietta, so he turned all the offers and stayed in Demietta team in the 2nd division of the Egyptian league. After a short while he attracted the attention of the coach of the first Demietta team and soon he was the main goalkeeper of the first Demietta team in the 2nd division of the Egyptian league. He kept his position for the seasons 91-92, 92-93, 94-95. Eventually (Haj) Kamal El-Hadary, his father, started to see that “maybe” his young son might have after all a talent some how that would guarantee a career for him in football. Essam even finished his military service in the athletic squad. He made some real good matches that added to his fame in the town of Demietta. The true turning point was in the season 1993-1994 when the Demietta team succeeded to reach the 1st division of the league. In the same season the Dutch coach Rawter was assigned the training of the 1st Egyptian national team. He heard about Essam El-Hadary and traveled to Demietta to see the young goalie for the first time. Rawter attended the match between Demietta and Port Fouad . El-Hadary kept a clean sheet that day, and by the end of the match he was rewarded by joining the 1st Egyptian National team, and that was a big achievement, as it was the first time in the Egyptian football history that a goalkeeper from the 2nd division of the league to join the 1st National team especially in that critical position in the field as the goalkeeper position, that position was reserved for goalkeepers from big clubs like Alahly and Zamalek, but Essam DID IT. He was the 4th goalkeeper among the giants Thabet Elbatal, Ekramy, and Shobeir. In the same season the legendary Saleh Seleem, the chairman of Al-Ahly club, requested to meet the young prospering goalkeeper Essam Elhadary in his office in Al-Ahly club. “Would you like to play in AlAhly club?” asked Saleh Seleem, Chairman of AlAhly club when he first met ElHadary. “Yes, sir indeed” replied the young player. In the same meeting Essam El-Hadary signed the contract to join the Al-Ahly club. Saleh Seleem wished that El-Hadary would join AlAhly club in the same season, but El-Hadary refused and asked Saleh Seleem to give him the chance to help his team Demietta to reach the 1st division of the Egyptian league, and he told him that he was close to that. No financial matters were discussed in that meeting, El-Hadary was simply enchanted sitting with the legendary Saleh Seleem. The contract between El-Hadary and Alahly club was kept a secret for six months until Demietta club reached the first division of the Egyptian league. Famous Egyptian clubs like Zamalek wished El-Hadary to join them. 3 goalkeepers were in Al-Ahly club at that time, Ahmed Shobeir, the first goalkeeper, Mostafa Kamal and Taban Sotto who was the best goalkeeper in Africa at that time. El-Hadary kept on playing in the Demietta club which became in the 1st Egyptian division for a whole season, only after 15 matches with the Demietta club news was spread that he signed a contract with AlAhly club. El-Hadary then joined Al-Ahly club and he was the 2nd goalkeeper for Ahmed Shobeir who was injured shortly and ElHadary was the 1st goalkeeper of the prestigious club. He played his first match with Elismailly club and Al-Aahly won a historic score of 6-0. By that time the ambitious boy did not only wish to be the 1st goalkeeper of Al-Ahly club, but wished to be the 1st goalkeeper of the Egyptian National team who was the King of Africa especially that he was the 1st goal keeper of Egypt’s Military football team and the 1st goalkeeper of Egypt’s Olympic team. Playing with the giants in Europe was not far from the dreams of the El-Hadary. It first started with an offer from Beshtkash and Ankra Turkish teams on 2005 but Al-Ahly refused to let go of El-Hadary. The second chance was after Africa Cup of Nations 2008 from FC Sion from Switzerland, El-Hadary wanted to explore new horizons especially since he was 35 years old. AlAhly refused again to let go of El-Hadary, but El-Hadary refused to let go of his final chance to explore new horizons, so he ended unilaterally his contract with Al-Ahly in an event that was the most debating in the Egyptian football history for months. The case of El-Hadary vs. Al-Ahly vs. FC Sion is being ruled by FIFA until the time these lines were written. During his stint at Al-Ahly, El-Hadary had the best chance to be trained by Ahmed Nagy so he achieved some impressive feats in over 500 appearances for the club in which he scored 1 goal. Nationally, he won the Egyptian League 7 times, the Egyptian Cup 4 times and the Egyptian Super Cup 4 times. Outside Egypt, El-Hadary was very successful with Al-Ahly. He won the African Champions League and the African Super Cup 3 times. He was also in a very strong Al-Ahly team that went unbeaten for 50 matches, which was ended in the 2005 FIFA Club World Championship, where they disappointly lost their two group staged matches. He returned in the 2006 FIFA Club World Championship, where Al-Ahly finished 3rd. El-Hadary has been chosen in the CAF Awards for the 2006, 2008 and 2010 African teams.


Move to FC Sion

El-Hadary 's move to FC Sion caused the goalkeeper problems after Al-Ahly told BBC Sport that there is no way that the Egyptian club sold El-Hadary to Sion. 'There is no way the club has agreed to sell the player, because we have only three goalkeepers registered. To my knowledge there's nothing in his contract that allows him to terminate it unilaterally.', as was claimed by Al-Ahly board member Khaled Mortagy. FC Sion claims that they bought El-Hadary, using the Webster-arrest, meaning that a player can buy out his contract and leave without permission after a minimum period of 3 years with a club, a condition which has been met in El-Hadary's case.Friday February 29 , 2008 : El Hadary has returned to Cairo , Egypt and has apologized on more than 3 tv channels to El Ahly club announcing that he will not go back to FC Sion and that he will accept any decision that may be taken by Al-Ahly club's administration and that he will continue his contract with Al-Ahly and any club that wishes to buy him should go and agree with El Ahly first. Friday, March 7 2008. Al-Ahly's board passed a decision about EL-Hadary's case. It is said that he will be banned for the next 3 weeks (21 Days) with a fine of 250 thousand Egyptian pounds. They have also filed the incident to FIFA after they were asked for reasons behind not sending his international card. On 19 April 2009 Al-Alhy reported on their website that FIFA have made a decision regarding the incident. They have reported that El-Hadary has been fined $1.2m and banned for 4 months. [1] On 30 May 2009 Al-Ahly reported that FIFA had officially sent the announced decision to Al-Ahly management. The ban was lifted in July 2009 due to ongoing appeal process.[2]


On 20 July 2009 it was announced that the Egyptian national team goalkeeper has joined Egyptian Premier League side Ismaily.[3]

International Career

Considered the best goalkeeper to emerge from Africa, El-Hadary represented Egypt 119 times, winning the African Cup of Nations four times with his country.He was chosen as the best goalkeeper in the 2006 African Cup of Nations, held in homeland Egypt and in the 2008 African Cup of Nations, held in Ghana and he was the best goalkeeper for the 2010 African Cup of Nations , held in Angola.



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