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35 Years Old and Condemned to Youth Football for 17 Months – Cameroon Legend Kameni’s Woes in Turkey

A tale of Carlos Kameni’s woes at the Turkish Super Lig.

An Olympic medal, the Spanish Super Cup and an Africa Cup of Nations title in a 16-year career, is by no means a small feat.  Eight years at Espanyol and six at Malaga, Carlos Kameni is not unknown in La Liga.

However, all of these took a back-seat in the Turkish Super Lig, at least in gaffer Ersun Yanal’s world.

Born in Douala some 35 years ago, the Cameroon legend landed in Istanbul in July 2017 to sign the dotted lines with record league holders Fenerbache on a free transfer.

He played all thirty-five matches for Malaga that season, picking two bookings, zero sending offs. Meaning, he arrived at the 19-time Turkish champions in tip-top form and thus was to have an easy glide into the first-team line up.

kameni2In no time, he reeled off a straight nine appearances, four of those beings wins, conceding thirteen goals, a shocking rate even by the African’s standards.

Was it a let-down by his defenders or he had too much protection at Espanyol and Malaga?

Capped on 70 occasions with Cameroon’s Indomitable Lions with whom he won the AFCON with in 2001, the net-minder blames it on coach Aykut Kocaman whom he said made him peripheral in his integral plans.

“When the new coach, Turkish Aykut Kocaman, arrived in November, he ruled me out for no reason. With Cuckold – licensed in October – I did not play, but I had a record at least,” he said, letting his guard down for the first time since the start of the ordeal.

In the seventeen months –heading to eighteen –he’d stayed at the Istanbul outfit, Carlos feels his importance has been shoved aside and as though not enough, he was also banned from coming any near the first-team facilities since January.

kameni3Adding to these woes, Kameni is also condemned to play for only the club’s youth ranks.

He continued: “It only happens here, Turkish football is very strange, incredible, it’s another world. Before I came, I had been told about it (maltreatment of players) but I never imagined it would happen (to me). Many stars leave the Turkish league angry. It happened to Robin Van Persie, Pepe, Wesley Sneijder or Lukas Podolski, but nothing has changed.”

Preoccupying his mind this minute is how to come out of the dungeon he’s hurled in. His contract expires June next year and is thus free to discuss with suitors. It’s likely his destination would be to the La Liga again, according to reports.

“I hope to leave this summer, but I will do it without any feeling, it is very unpleasant,” Carlos says, who has become popular as the goalkeeper who stopped 31 shots of Real Madrid.

Kameni‘s initial move to depart Spain was aimed at experiencing something new. At Fenerbache, he achieved just that but has come to loathe the outcome.

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