Kameni At A Crossroads
Sometimes in adverse moments is when you learn your greatest lessons. Carlos Kameni became one of the most popular players on the Espanyol squad for the past few years. He has been there during the highest highs and -right now- the lowest lows. The drop-off in Kameni’s level of play is just a microcosm of the team itself. Kameni was part of one of the most memorable years in Espanyol history in 2007 when they would raise the Copa del Rey for the fourth time in their history.
Monday afternoon was the culmination of almost a year of adversity. 2007 was one of the more memorable years for the Catalan side as they won the Copa del Rey for the fourth time and battled to the bitter end in the UEFA Cup final. The 2007 season showed a great deal of promise as the winter break saw them in prime position to be in European cup spots. The drop-off in Kameni’s level of play is just a microcosm of the team itself. For him and his team they went on a second-half slide that saw them get teased with the possibility of being relegated. There was complete despair and the team that was teetering on the border of oblivion. This year is further testament to what is going on at the club. It is a continuation of what went on in the second half of last year.
In those moments he’s persevered and become part of that nucleus of the Pericos ever since he came to Catalunya from France. Coming in he had challenges that he had to overcome. One of them was to get out of the shadow of arguably the greatest African goalkeeper of all time and Espanyol idol Thomas N’Kono. He was able to fill in those shoes and write his own legacy at the club. Offers came in like wildfire. Manchester United came calling during their constant search for goalkeepers. Kameni was close to becoming possibly the solution to the goalkeeping vacuum that existed between the departure of Peter Schmeichel and the eventual arrival of Edwin Van der Sar to the Theater of Dreams. That was what went on in the life of Carlos Kameni once he arrived in Barcelona. At his highest moment, he was usually more out than in. He always lived on sharpest point of the razor’s edge. When I spoke to my boy Mando he had mentioned that the damage was done after last year’s African Cup of Nations. His agent flirted with Spurs, Valencia, and Aleti. Fans are like girlfriends or wives; and everyone knows how jealous they get went a player “checks out the field” while still holding their hand.
When your “prized possession” begins to look for greener pastures, you look for what is best for you. The girlfriend looks for someone that makes her feel special, wanted. This is why Espanyol went to get young Argentine goalkeeper Cristian Álvarez as an insurance policy.
Monday’s actions could be considered a meltdown. It was a legitimate mistake and he should be punished for it. The Perico world is currently against him. Fans to the right and left of the club are looking for his head on a plate. Polls show that the best solution would be to get rid of the player that has been the one constant in the club. The penyas want him gone ASAP.
Are there any solutions? That is a complicated issue. The damage is done, as Mando clearly said. Kameni’s relationship with the fans is the same as the comparing it to a stitched up gash that was just torn open. The team’s (including his) poor performance was just the alcohol poured all over it. There is no justification behind going after a fan that way. No way, no how! For a player to lash back at a fan is something that is virtually unforgiveable. His legacy at the club is now tainted after doing much to try to over come the shadow of his fellow compatriot, N’Kono. His actions have now cast an immense shadow over him and there are not enough press conferences or apologies that can be given that will heal this wound. Only time could heal this wound. Unfortunately for Kameni and his teammates, that is not something they have on their side as they are battling for the first division lives.