At 20 years of age, Lamine Camara has taken the footballing world by storm in Africa’s biggest stage. Playing as a key midfielder for both Metz and his national team, Camara’s talent has shown. His breakout moment came at the 2022 African Nations Championship where he not only claimed the Best Young Player of the Group Stage but also orchestrated the winning penalty in the final, earning him the Man of the Match title.
Georges Mikautadze finished as top scorer in Ligue 2 and led Metz to promotion, earning a €16m move to Ajax in the summer.
— Breaking The Lines (@BTLvid) January 7, 2024
This incredible performance wasn’t a fluke; Camara had already been steadily climbing the ranks, winning the 2023 U-20 Africa Cup of Nations title and earning the 2023 CAF Young Player of the Year award. With his technical prowess, vision, and electrifying dribbling, Camara is poised to become a household name in football for years to come, particularly if he continues on his current trajectory.
Camara is an industrious midfielder, active in duels as well as occupying positions in both halves of the pitch, however he’s much more than a box to box player, Lamine possesses a great deal of technical quality as well as creativity that make him a threat in the final third.
Defensively, Camara is assured as an outlet for transition or simply to play out of pressure, this is a role that he has shown much importance in for Senegal during this year’s AFCON. His in possession stats for Metz are also reflective of security on the ball.
Senegal were odds-on favorites to reclaim their AFCON throne after being the only side to win each of their three group stage matches, but they would nevertheless lose on penalties to hosts and eventual champions Ivory Coast in the Round of 16. Despite their early exit, Camara was one of the few Lions of Teranga players who emerged with their reputation enhanced, rather than diminished, with the youngster excelling in the final third as well as shining in a deeper midfield role.
Camara is also assured at stopping transitions whenever in close proximity to the ball carrier, although he often struggles in defending wider spaces, hence why he cannot play as a lone pivot. Other issues in his defensive capacity also include his aerial duels, which his height at 5’8 comes as a disadvantage, consequently only successfully completing just 28% of his duels in the air for Metz this season. His ground duels are also statically unimpressive if he’s to be considered a lone pivot.
Offensively, Camara is also very much a threat, his ball striking and technique that goes with it make him a live-wire from in and out of the box. Unsurprisingly Camara’s technical quality makes him a very capable player when receiving and arriving between the lines, offering himself as an option to give or receive passes into the final third.
In transition, Camara serves as a really good ball carrier, although a he tends to sometimes be caught in possession for a lack of strength when engaged, nothing that physical conditioning wouldn’t solve over time. His heat map reflects his effectiveness and industry all across the pitch, as well as a willingness to engage in all phases of play.
One year after leaving Senegal’s Generation Foot for Metz, Camara has emerged as a technically proficient, industrious and nimble midfielder in the heart of László Bölöni’s midfield, and with a contract until 2026, Metz will be looking to keep hold of their raw diamond for the foreseeable future, but their hand may be forced.
Metz find themselves in grave danger of suffering their second relegation in three years, ending a seven-match losing streak on Friday and securing a 1-1 draw at 10-man Marseille. After returning from the Africa Cup of Nations, Cameroonian striker Faris Moumbagna marked his Marseille debut by opening the scoring in the 56th minute. However, OM’s lead would last just five minutes as Camara’s tantalizing cross found the head of captain Matthieu Udol for the equalizer.
Les Grenats sit 17th in the table, two points away from Lorient and Montpellier, and one point above last-placed Clermont Foot, and they’ll be looking to pick up their first win since November when they travel to Montpellier on Sunday. They’ll be counting on Camara as they look to avoid the drop and ensure a second-straight season in France’s top-flight. If he can continue his scintillating form, it may just be a matter of time before Camara becomes the latest Senegalese player to depart Metz after Sadio Mané, Ismaïla Sarr, Kalidou Koulibaly and Pape Matar Sarr.
Featured Image: @GabFoligno / DeFodi Images