Sunday May 22, 2022. 11:00
France national team coach Didier Deschamps has denied ‘blocking’ Olympique Marseille’s Boubacar Kamara from representing Senegal.
The 22-year-old defensive midfielder or centre-back was born in France to Senegalese parents, making him eligible to represent either nation.
Kamara has played for French junior national teams from U-17 to U-21 level, but L’Equipe reported last month that he had an agreement in place with Teranga Lions coach Aliou Cisse which would give him the chance to represent the African nation at the World Cup later this year.
However, this past week saw Kamara named in France’s squad for their UEFA Nations League matches against Denmark, Austria and Croatia from early to mid-June.
When asked about calling up Kamara – the only uncapped player in the 24-man squad – Deschamps denied that he was seeking to ‘block’ the player’s potential path to representing Senegal.
“He [Kamara] is there because of what he achieves with his club in a very particular register, even if it is linked to the absence of other players who used to be there, in particular [Paul] Pogba’s injury,” said Deschamps, as quoted by Afrik-Foot.
“You suspect well compared to what ‘it would seem’ […] what I can tell you, when I was confronted with calling a player who has this freedom, dual nationals, to have the choice, at no time have I done or will do, to select a player, to prevent a player from having a second choice.
“But from the moment the player has a very clear position, where his objective is to be a French international, there is no discussion to be had.
“But, obviously, I make sure to have that answer before I can choose or not choose.”
Senegal, meanwhile, will face Benin (home, June 4) and Rwanda (away, June 7) in their first two qualifiers for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast.