On Thursday afternoon, head coach Wilfried Nancy told reporters that Kei Kamara had suffered a head injury and was undergoing tests to determine if he had a concussion. We know now; it was a tasty joke. More seriously, if this information had to be true, Nancy and her players might still be looking for a first victory in MLS in 2022.
Only defending forward to set foot on the lawn at TQL Stadium for CF Montreal (1-3-1) on Saturday afternoon – with the absences of Romell Quioto (COVID-19 protocol), Bjorn Johnsen (foot) and Mason Toye (adductor ) – Kamara was instrumental in the 4-3 win over FC Cincinnati.
In addition to scoring the 131st goal of his career in MLS – his first in a Montreal uniform – Kamara also prepared two others, including that of Joaquin Torres, in the 67th minute, which eventually made the difference.
About six weeks after arriving in Montreal, Kamara seems to have found her bearings in her new environment. On the ground, Nancy says she sees it.
“It takes time for all players to adapt, especially the way we play. (…) At the same time, as I said to the players, Rommel, when he plays, he has specificities which are very clear. Kei, when he plays, he has specificities. The players have to adjust to that and Kei has to adjust to the way we play as well. Today (Saturday) was better in the use of the ball at times. He helped us, too, with his physical presence, let’s say. Each player has a specific role and today Kei was one of the players who helped the team. »
That Kamara’s adaptation to the team’s style of play may not be on point yet is one thing. But it’s a process that is bound to come easily, because the 37-year-old Sierra Leonean is as happy as a fish in water in a CF Montreal uniform.
It was to hear from him on Saturday after the game, when he showed up for the videoconference and immediately teased the media representatives. For about thirty seconds, Kamara showed what state of mind he was in, even before the journalists asked him a single question!
“You seem very comfortable at home. Nobody drinks wine, or water? Where did you hide it? What is happening? “, he first launched, smiling.
“I’m fine, I’m fine. I am doing wonderfully, ”he then replied when the videoconference host asked him how he was doing.
“It’s fantastic to be part of this team and to have obtained a victory on the road. It was tough last time seeing the team on the road against Atlanta. We couldn’t extract the victory. It’s part of learning and this one, today (Saturday) is also part of learning. This is a very positive result. »
Kamara’s daily life in her new town seems just as positive. Which, after all, doesn’t really seem surprising.
“I have my apartment, I have a car, I started to cook for myself. Its good. For me, it is a familiar environment. As I’ve already said, I’ve been to Montreal before, several times, and I fell in love with the city,” he continued, before focusing on his teammates.
“And the locker room. It’s a very united locker room, where it’s good to be. To be there and to play the role of leader is something that I cherish and adore. I hope I can continue to contribute with these guys. »
If there is a player at CF Montreal who wants this wish to come true, it is Djordje Mihailovic.
Author of two goals on Saturday, including one following a pass from Kamara, Mihailovic was very complimentary when asked to explain the veteran’s contribution.
“The first thing I have to say about Kei is the personality he brings into the dressing room. I think it’s important that we were able to add this kind of player, a veteran, in this young locker room. (…) It is this presence. Before the soccer player is the person he is in the locker room. »
“The other thing, like with his pass on my goal, is his calmness with the ball. He’s been in that position hundreds and thousands of times, probably. He is able to control the ball, raise his head and spot my movements behind the defender. He’s not like Rommel, he’s not like Mason, he’s not like Sunusi (Ibrahim). He is a physically imposing target. He’s probably the most menacing with his head. He brings different qualities, there is no doubt. »