Lamine Camara: RS Berkane, the ideal springboard for player professionalism

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The Senegalese midfielder, Mamadou Lamine Camara, is quietly confident their chances ahead of Friday's final of the TotalEnergies CAF Confederation Cup 2022 against Orlando Pirates of South Africa.

The best player of the U20 qualifying tournament for West Africa Football Union (WAFU A) held in December 2020 in Thies (western Senegal), is learning to become a top level professional at the the Moroccan side RS Berkane.

The young footballer spoke with CAFOnline.com about his first season abroad and his expectations in football.

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CAFOnline.com: In just your first season with a club abroad, you will be playing in a continental final on Friday. What are your thoughts?

Lamine Camara: I could not have dreamed any better than this in my first season of learning to develop in a club like RS Berkane. Both in club and in this League (Morocco), I consistently see the level required for professionalism. The infrastructure and the quality of human resources, everything contributes to pulling the young player that I am, up. At the beginning, it was difficult for a footballer coming from the amateur world like me, but then I took the challenge and I was able to play 17 matches in all competitions including five in the TotalEnergies CAF Confederation Cup 2022. Besides that, I started in the semi-final first leg match in Lubumbashi against TP Mazembe.

Specifically, what did you learn at al RS Berkane that you didn't know at your former club AF Darou Salam in Senegal?

On training management, it's really great. I was lucky to work under a very high level coach (Florent Ibenge) who arrived at the club almost at the same time as me. He is really a great coach who helps the player to work and progress technically and tactically. And on the pitch, the team has many internationals who are used to playing at a very high level, such as the Burkinabe Issoufou Dayo who was a semi-finalist of the 2021 TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations played in Cameroon. Frankly, I found myself in the ideal place to progress.

What are your ambitions in this club?

First to win this competition, the CAF Confederation Cup. A final is not played, it must be won. We will put in all the efforts from our side to win this trophy. We will face a great team, a big name in African football, Orlando Pirates. The advantage for us is that this is a team that plays good football. And also, it will be on neutral ground. The best team will win and we are lucky to have players with this experience in our squad. This is my first international experience, it would be wonderful to complete it with a continental title.

You play in a club with internationals and a coach, a former national coach. How did you experience the historic coronation of Senegal as African champions?

Indescribable. All Senegalese footballers were eager to see this star attached to our national jersey. And now that it's done, it will be the door that will open more doors for us to win more trophies - God willing. You cannot measure all my pride after this coronation. My club teammates were very happy for me and many Moroccans were fully behind us because of the historical relations between our two countries. Now that the first title is done, I am convinced that the rest will come and I will work to be part of the generation that will win other titles. And after playing with the U17s and the U20s, I naturally think of the A national team. I signed five years with RS Berkane with the ambition to aim higher. So far everything is going well.

(c) Photos @RS Berkane