Kei Kamara has had a rocky history with the Sierra Leone National Team. He’s long been outspoken about the issues concerning the Sierra Leone Football Association. He was suspended earlier this year for “disciplinary reasons,” but the suspension was later lifted. Just last month, he was honored with a mural on the side of the national stadium.
But the BBC confirmed that he has now retired from international soccer. Kamara told the outlet that it is because “I’m unhappy with the progress of national team. I’ve been with national team since 2008 and there has been no improvement, no plan for the direction the national teams should go from the youth level to senior level.”
Kamara is in his home country as one of the players called up for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations tournament and announced his retirement the night before their qualifier against Lesotho.
He went on to call out Leone Stars coach Sellas Tetteh, saying “Coach Tetteh is a good man and has good intentions. But he’s an old man who I do not believe is able to really improve us and to move us forward.” He continued, “I put my ego aside and decided to come for the upcoming matches to work with Sellas because I want to see the growth of Sierra Leone football. We tried over and over to talk to him to work together with us the senior players in the team me and captain Umaru Bangura but he didn’t listen to us, he’s not doing the right things to help the players grow.”
Kamara shared that local players aren’t fed at camp and they don’t have anything to eat at home, which was unfair treatment in his eyes. “Players should be always happy when playing for the national team, they should get special treatment but there is none. It looks like punishment when you’re with the national team,” he said. “This has been the case even before the days of Mohamed Kallon in the team, it has been the same complaint all the time, we’ve gone through the same thing for over 20 years nothing has changed.”
Several local players also boycotted last weekend’s training over unpaid allowances, a situation has supposedly been resolved, but Kamara refused to train the next day and then never went back. According to the article, he didn’t plan to quit this week, but stands firm in his decision.
“I’ve received calls from ex-players asking me to reverse my decision but there’ll be no coming back, this is the end of my international career,” Kamara said. He also put his international career on hold in 2015, citing the same issues that still exist today. At that time, he didn’t give specific examples, just said that “I have taken myself out of the national team for now because we are not respected and treated fairly by the Sierra Leone FA.”
From 2008-2019, Kamara had 29 appearances for the national team, putting in five goals.
He posted this on Instagram yesterday: