Sierra Leone international and Former Middlesbrough striker Kei Kamara has called time on his international playing career as he announced his retirement on Saturday but did not state any official reasons for his action.
The 31-year-old former Norwich player was born and raised in Kenema, Sierra Leone’s third largest city, and he started his trade playing for Kallon F.C. from 2001-2003.
At age 16, Kamara and his family migrated to the United States through a refugee program and settled with relatives in Hawthorne, California, near Los Angeles.
He posted on his Facebook page on Saturday a photograph of Leone Stars with the words: “As an athlete representing your country is by far the biggest achievement you could earn.
“So it is very sad for me to announce that I will be stepping away from the National Team (Leone Stars) indefinitely.
“Thank you to every Sierra Leonean that has supported my career. I wish to one day put on the Green White and Blue again, wishing the boys all the best in the upcoming games. I Love you, Mama Salone.”
Kamara is leading the race for the 2015-16 MLS Golden boot with two more goals ahead of Toronto FC’s Sebastian Giovinco.
In this campaign, Kamara has been named three times MLS player of the months for week 12, 23 and 28 after writing his name in the major League Soccer history book.
The 6ft 3in goal poacher after accounted for his 22nd goal of the season became the first ever player to score against 21 Major League soccer teams in a season.
Kamara, who was chosen by Columbus Crew ninth overall at the 2006 MLS Super draft has racked up more than 277 appearances and scored 95 career goals so far, including one of his most memorable against Everton in Norwich City’s 2-1 victory in the English Premier League 2013-14 season.
Kamara is believed to be the first Sierra Leonean to have scored in English Premier League and was the 88th player from different nations at the time to bookmark their names the Premier League.
He made his international debut for the Sierra Leone on 5 September 2010, during a 1–1 draw with Egypt in Sierra Leone’s first group stage match in qualification for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations and since then the versatile striker is a regular for his country.
During the 2015 African nations Cup qualifiers, Kamara scored a vital goal for Leone Stars against the now African defending Champions Ivory Coast in Abidjan and captain the squad against DRC Leopards in Lumbumbashi September 10th 2014.
Kamara was part of the Leone Stars line-up that held the Elephants to a goalless draw last month in Port Harcourt in the ongoing 2017 African Nations Cup qualifiers, but will not be available for Leone Stars upcoming World Cup preliminary double header against Chad this month.
By Alie Bittar