NEW YORK – Sporting Kansas City forward Kei Kamara is contemplating a potential return to the Sierra Leone national team after a controversy caused him to miss out on his native country’s most recent African Cup of Nations qualifier.
The seven-year MLS veteran was suspended by Sierra Leone’s federation for publicly criticizing the country’s soccer officials for failing to pick up his travel costs from the US to Africa. He told MLSsoccer.com on Friday from Sierra Leone that he has met with national-team representatives to resolve the issue.
“The fact that I want to play for my country and be with the team means [and apology is] something I’m considering doing," Kamara said. "I have to be the bigger man in this situation and I want to be back on the field.”
Kamara was suspended for the qualifier against South Africa but hopes to rejoin the squad in time for the third match in Niger in March 2011. He has typically played as the team’s center forward, although he filled in at right wing for the first group match against reigning champions Egypt, which ended in a tie.
[inline_node:318940]The Sporting striker says he would not expect the logistics snafu to reoccur and earlier travel planning by the federation would help offset the fact that his flight is the most expensive of any Sierra Leone player.
Kamara is currently on vacation in Freetown, Sierra Leone, and he has taken the opportunity to work out with fellow national-team players who are also on their offseason break from Scandinavian clubs. He invited them to play an exhibition match in his hometown of Kenema to help raise money for the local league.
During his time in Africa, Kamara says that he has been moved by the affection of the locals towards him.
“I’ve been here two-and-a-half weeks and I’m shocked with the kind of love the people are showing me about what I’m doing in MLS,” he said. “They’ve been following me in MLS.”
Kamara has also been following the offseason activity in MLS, specifically the departure of longtime KC players Josh Wolff and Jimmy Conrad in the MLS Re-Entry Draft.
“We sat right across from each other [in the locker room],” Kamara said of his former teammates. “I have a lot of respect for them. But I’ve been traded three times in the league. When stuff like that happens, you have to wish them the best of luck. They’re veterans, so they’ll be fine.”