Bingourou Kamara: “Racing are a big club”
The French Under-21 international goalkeeper Bingourou Kamara (20 years old, 5 ft 6 in, 84kg) yesterday signed a 4-year deal at RC Strasbourg. Born on 21st October 1996 in Longjumeau, on the southern suburbs of Paris, Bingourou is Mauritian through his father and Senegalese through his mother, and is the eldest of three brothers. He signed his first contract at a club in nearby Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois. “Back then, I was quite short and I used to play as a defender. Then one day, they needed a goalkeeper and I was put in goal, to help out. I liked it straight away and I felt really comfortable there”. To such an extent that, after a spell at Brétigny-sur-Orge, he joined the Institut National du Football (national football academy) in Clarefontaine. “It was really impressive, the surroundings, the facilities, the training sessions… I would spend the weekdays there and go home at the weekend to play for Brétigny on Saturdays and spend Sundays with my family”.
Back in Brétigny after two years at the INF, Bingourou had several trials and eventually signed for Tours FC. A sudden growth spurt gave him impressive height as he learnt the ropes with the Under-17s, before having a memorable season with the Under-19s which was capped off by winning the Under-19 championship on penalties against Evian. Bingourou saved two of them (“A lot of instinct and a bit of luck!”) and savoured a double success, because that same year, he passed the French equivalent of his A-Levels in management sciences and business administration.
The successes kept on coming. He signed his first pro contract, very quickly found himself promoted to first-choice goalkeeper and made his debut in Ligue 2 at 18 years old, on 31st October 2014 in a 2–1 loss at Laval. 81 matches in Ligue 2 later, here he is at Racing, on the cusp of a great leap into Ligue 1. “It’s not a high point but just the start of something, a new chapter in my story, one that I want to write without any mistakes. I’m happy and proud to sign for Racing. It’s a big club, where there’s a good atmosphere and a lot of enthusiasm. The club’s project appealed to me, what the chairman Marc Keller, the manager Thierry Laurey and the head of recruitment Loïc Désiré had to say was clear, precise and really motivating. I’m here to raise my game and to help out the team. There’s a shared objective: to put in good performances and to win matches. I’m ready”. Confidence and calm come naturally to Bingourou, who shows astonishing maturity for his age. “It’s often said that goalkeepers have a crazy side. I’ve probably got one, but I know how to be sensible too!”, smiles the young keeper.
Sensible and patient in an exposed position, like his two role models, Iker Casillas and Gianluigi Buffon who, just like him, made their debuts at a very young age. “They’re examples of longevity and success, role models, great professionals and hard workers. They’re always looking for results, in search of improvement, of perfection”. Step by step, game by game, Bingourou Kamara is building his future. Next season, the blue of Racing will certainly go together for him with the blue of France, for the qualifying stages of the Under-21 Euros in 2019. He has already proudly worn the shirt of the Under-19s, the Under-20s and the Under-21s. And who knows, maybe soon he’ll be putting on the shirt of the senior team…