Camara has been showing his brilliance for years, but the world just took notice
The world stood still on Monday after Senegalese youngster Lamine Camara scored a belter for his country in their 3-0 bashing of Gambia in the opening game of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.
This Lamine Camara boy just a year ago was at CHAN, destroying everyone there. A year later, he’s doing it on the big stage with the Teranga Lions 🦁 of Senegal 🇸🇳. Respect CHAN!! #TotalEnergiesAFCON2023 | @SABC_Sport
— Velile Mnyandu 🇿🇦 (@Velile_Mnyandu) January 15, 2024
Pape Gueye gave the Taranga Lions the lead after just four minutes of play before Camara scored a brace to seal the biggest win of the tournament so far. Camara’s goals ensured he became the youngest player to score a brace in an AFCON game since Ali Zitouni for Tunisia in 2000.
Camara’s brilliance was not by coincidence. He already claimed the Young Player of the Year at the last CAF Awards in December 2023. He was also one of the best players at the African Nations Championship in 2022, helping Senegal win it. At the time, Camara was still playing for Senegalese side Generation Foot.
After his heroics with the CHAN team, the 20-year-old then went to the 2023 Under-20 AFCON, where he emerged as the Player of the Tournament after he helped Senegal to the title.
The 20-year-old midfielder central midfielder joined French Ligue 1 club Metz last summer, and he has quickly become a regular. Camara’s blend of physicality, versatility, and quick thinking has been key to his rise. Despite just arriving from Senegal, Camara has made 17 for Metz in Ligue 1 this season.
Ahead of the AFCON, Camara was one of the players who was expected to light up the competition, and he has not disappointed.
Coach Aliou Cisse entrusted the young midfielder with manning the midfield, and he did well on his first game- his debut at the AFCON. After netting the second goal for Senegal, he scored a belter that got the world talking.
Aside from his brace, in the game against Gambia, Camara registered an 89% pass accuracy, 88 touches, three key passes, and two interceptions. With these stats, even without his brace, Camara already had a monstrous performance.
With the rate at which Camara is going, he could become one of the best midfielders from Africa soon. Nigeria star Victor Osimhen won the CAF Young Player of the Year in 2015, and he has risen to stardom and world recognition. Camara will be hopeful that his career goes in the same pattern.