Egypt goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary became the oldest player in Africa Cup of Nations history when he featured in his country’s Group D opener against Mali on Tuesday.
The four-time winner of the competition began the match on the bench, but was summoned when first-choice Ahmed El-Shenawy was unable to continue do to an apparent shoulder injury – winning his 148th cap at the age of 44 years and two days.
FIFA tweeted its congratulations to El-Hadary, who is currently enjoying a second spell with Egyptian Premier League side Wadi Degla.
El-Hadary won his first African title in 1998 and was named as the best goalkeeper in the tournament when Egypt won on home soil in 2006 and defended their crown successfully in both 2008 and 2010.
He is older than Colombia goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon was when he became the oldest player in World Cup history, coming on as a late substitute at 43 years and three days in a 4-1 win over Japan at Brazil 2014.
History! At the age of 44 years + 2 days, Egypt’s Essam El-Hadary becomes the oldest player in CAF Africa Cup of Nations history pic.twitter.com/hfuuD0HTAI
— FIFA.com (@FIFAcom) January 17, 2017