Zamalekâ€™s player Ahmed Hassan (Photo: Bassam El-Zoghbi)
Veteran Egyptian soccer player Ahmed Hassan became the worldâ€™s most capped player ever this past week when he came on in the Egyptian national teamâ€™s 1-0 victory over Niger. A so-called cap is given to a player every time they make an appearance for their countryâ€™s national team in international soccer competition.
The 36-year-old midfielder came onto the pitch in the 87th minute during the Pharaohâ€™s victory in Qatarâ€™s capital Doha, overtaking Saudi Arabiaâ€™s goalkeeper Mohamed al-Deayea with the most ever appearances for his country. Hassan thought he had reached the magical mark in a 5-0 rout of Kenya two days ago, but the east Africans sent an under-23 squad so the match was not an official international.
His joy at reaching the milestone was tinged with sadness as he admitted to still being traumatized by the deaths of 75 football fans after a league match in Port Said last month. It was the biggest Egyptian sporting tragedy and several national team stars, including Mohammed Abou Treika, Mohamed Barakat and Emad Moteab, reacted by announcing their retirements.
â€œOf course I am happy with the achievement, but my happiness is not complete. I am still saddened by the death of Ahly fans in the Port Said disaster,â€ Hassan said on his website. â€œI have waited for this achievement for so long, but I hoped to get it in better circumstances,â€ he added. Hassanâ€™s professional career has taken him throughout Egypt and Turkey, in addition to a spell with Belgian club Anderlecht.