When Egypt faced Argentina in the group stage of the 2005 FIFA U-20 World Cup, held in Netherlands, everyone was waiting to watch the young talented star Lionel Messi, especially after Argentina lost their opener (1-0) to United States. Egypt also was defeated 2-0 in their opening game against Germany, creating high pressure on the team in their second match. Despite conceding two goals in that game, Egypt’s goalkeeper Hamada Magdi presented an outstanding performance against Argentinian players, but his next years after the tournament were less fortunate.
Daily News Egypt spoke with Magdi about that tournament and his football career. He recalled that his late coach Hassan Mukhtar once told him to play any game, however hard it was, as if he was playing in his small village in Mansoura city, in the Dakahlia governorate. Magdi believes that his coach’s advice helped him to face any team without fear. He added, “when I faced Messi and his teammates, I was very focused. Before the game, I isolated myself from any distractions, prayed, and read some verses from the Quran.”
“In the first half, we played very well, and I kept my sheet clean. Everything was good until the second half when Messi scored the opening goal. Our problem in that tournament was the physical decline in the second 45-minutes, so we failed to level the score and conceded another goal by Zabaleta. We lost the game, but everyone talked about my good performance.” he said.
“In the drug test after the game, I was chosen along with Messi to undergo the test. A Chinese doctor was taking blood samples, while footages of the game were being shown in the room. Messi looked at me and said, “you are a great goalkeeper.”
After the tournament, Magdi returned to play with Mansoura SC, but he did not realize, then, that difficult years await his football career.
Once Magdi returned to Egypt, he joined the compulsory military service (CMS).
Normally, football teams in Egypt help their players to be exempted from conscription through playing for the national military football team, but Magdi was abandoned in CMS for two years.
Magdi believes that Mansoura’s head coach was punishing him because he joined the national team through Mansoura’s youth team, so he did not receive the credit for Magdi’s good performance in the World Cup.
He affirmed that one of his biggest mistakes in life was failing to contract with a good agent to promote him in the Egyptian Premier League. Afterwards, Fertilizer Talkha SC, which plays in the Egyptian Third Division—third level on the Egyptian football league system—signed Magdi and gave him a new hope.
Magdi presented great performance in numerous matches with Talkha, prompting Telephonat Beni Suef SC to offer him a bigger transfer deal. Magdi started to shine again and restored his self-confidence.
Then, Ittihad El Shorta FC signed Magdi for a record-deal worth EGP 1m, giving him the chance to return to the Egyptian Premier League. However, Magdi was the third goalkeeper in the team, whereby he played a few matches. In 2014, he left El Shorta team.
Then, Magdi moved to several teams, including Baladeyet El Mahalla SC, Mansoura, and Al-Merrikh SC, until he announced his retirement at the age of 31. He works now as a goalkeeper coach at Al-Ahly club of Kuwait.