30 Jul 2021
HIFK Helsinki has signed Sierra Leone international striker Kei Kamara on a one year contract, with an option to extend. The 36-year-old has been without a club since his contract with MLS club Minnesota United came to an end last year.
Despite his recent drop in minutes, Kamara has remained productive. He scored the only goal against Benin in a decisive qualifier in Guinea Conakry last month, helping his country secure a place at the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time in 25 years.
HIFK Helsinki's director Mika Lönnström showed his delight in attracting a player of such a high profile to their club.
He stated: ''During our recruitment process for the attacking position, we went through 30 players, and Kei Kamara was always our first choice. We do not have the most expansive squad, but we strive for every player we recruit to bring something new to the team. Our goal is to change the culture within the club, and therefore we are pleased to have recruited such a good player.
HIFK has been finding it difficult to score goals this season, and the head coach Joaquín Gómez confirms that the signing of Kei Kamara is an attempt to fix the gap.
He stated: '' Since Sakari Tukiainen injured himself at the beginning of the season, we have been looking for a new striker. We needed a proven goal scorer with a strong presence in the penalty area, and Kamara has shown that he meets these criteria during his career. We always knew he had the qualities we were looking for, but we were not sure we could attract such a big name to the club. This signing is not only good for us but also Finnish football in general, says Gómez.
Kamara stated: ''I am familiar with Finnish football because many players from Sierra Leone had previously played in the Finnish League. In addition, I have worked with a Finnish coach, Sixten Boström, during my time in Columbus Crew.' I chose HIFK because the club made a good impression on him during the initial discussions''.
''I spoke with Joaquín Gómez, and he told me about the club's goals and plans for the future. He told me that they were missing a striker, and I was missing a club for my part. In the end, it was my love of playing football that made me take on this challenge; I am recruited to score goals, and even though I can not promise that I will score goals in every match, I hope to be able to contribute with many goals this season. I also want to help the team with my presence and energy on the pitch and hopefully help the club achieve its goals.
HIFK sit in sixth place on the Finnish League table, and their next match is away against Haka on Saturday at 15.00.
The striker ranks fifth on the MLS's all-time scoring list, with 130 goals in 356 matches played and 47 assists. He also made a season-long loan at Norwich in the Premier League and scoring one goal in 14 games. His most recent club was Minnesota United in the United States.