You can only hope that we’re not about to witness a repeat of Henri Camara’s last return Journey from the African Nation’s Cup. That time around it took several weeks before he turfed up back in Wolverhampton. This time you suspect that the draw of a cup final will be enough to see the Senegalese striker wind his way to Christopher Park, if not on time then at least pretty quickly. Jewell didn’t seem to happy with the whole thing yesterday, but it’s a fine line between disappointment and anger and having spent all week expressing a desire not to upset Camara’s international prospects, let’s hope that Monday morning brings a bit of perspective on the whole thing.
Now we don’t know what efforts (other than booking a flight from Paris on Friday) that the club put into ensuring that Camara knew that he was needed and that they’d like it very much if he’d be back for Saturday, please. Neither do we know the whys, wheres and how’s your Pierre Van Hooijdonks of what’s been going on in the Senegal camp since Thursday afternoon. All we do know is that FIFA rules say that he doesn’t have to be back until Monday, and that he wasn’t back by Saturday afternoon.
We can guess that he wanted an extra day off but to the same extent his country may have forced him to play. You can argue that the Bolton players made it back, but you don’t know how that was achieved. You can say that he would have been too tired to have any effect on the game, but he’s been in great form and only had 20 minutes on Thursday. You can say that he should have known we needed him, but you don’t know who told him what and in what language.
I’ll give you one thing, if he’s not back tomorrow then all bets are off, expect him to have the book thrown at him and have a cooling off period on the bench, including the cup final. If he makes it to training then what can you say, he might have pushed it a little bit, allowed people to be disappointed in him but he’s done nothing he’s not allowed to. It may be that he misses out at Spurs. From that point, performances will dictate whether or not he makes the final.
Allowing myself a bit of speculation, I reckon that Camara thinks he can afford to take the mick a little bit. Mculloch and Connolly were out injured when he left and Roberts has been suspended since, it would be easy for him to think that we need him more than he needs us. However both the injured lads could be back next Sunday and Mellor will have had chance to rest those knackered knees. All those three will be looking to prove something ahead of Cardiff and with one game to do it in, who knows what will happen.
Personally I don’t think anyone involved will be stupid enough to blow their chances. Camara will show tomorrow, with apologies and tales of the Senegal FA and official functions. Jewell will have chilled a bit and tell us all about the complex politics of African football. We’ll all be friends again and Henri will travel to Spurs where, probably from the bench, he’ll continue his good form. All just in time to partner Roberts up front in the final.
It’ll take a bit more than that to win some of the fans over though, but if he plays his cards right, he’ll have the right stage to do it on.
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