October 18, 2012
IT'S IN THE PAST
Kamara says he has no ill will toward Henry after head-butting incident last month
By Michael Lewis
|Kei Kamara: "Maybe I was pissed off at the situation before, but I'm over it."
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
KANSAS CITY, Kansas -- Kei Kamara says Thierry Henry's head butt at the end of Sporting Kansas City's 2-0 win over the Red Bulls last month is in the past.
The Sierra Leone international said that he harbors no ill will into Saturday's 7 p.m. confrontation between the two teams at Red Bull Arena.
After practice at the Major League Soccer team's training site earlier this week, the KC forward called the incident "just a little cheap shot, but it's part of the game."
Henry head-butted Kamara during stoppage time on Sept. 19. The former French international was not sanctioned on the incident, but was slapped with a one-game suspension and an undisclosed fine by the MLS disciplinary committee afterwards.
That night, Kamara tweeted: "What do you do when one of your idols do you wrong?"
But that is in the past.
"Everybody wants to win," Kamara said on Tuesday. "He's a competitor. Maybe I was pissed off at the situation before, but I'm over it. He's somebody that I respect a lot. I look up to him a lot, what he has done in his career. So for me, it's just one of those [things]. He's just being a competitor. He wants to win."
In fact, Kamara said he would be willing to shake Henry's hand before the game to show he harbored no ill feelings.
"Definitely. Definitely. If he doesn't want to shake my hand . . ."
Then his voice tail off before adding: "He's a guy hopefully maybe I get his jersey the next game."
Kamara admitted on Tuesday he was still a little jet-lagged after flying back from Tunisia after he and his Sierra Leone teammates played to a scoreless draw at Tunisia on Saturday and failed to reach the 2013 African Cup of Nations. He called it "a disappointing result."
He added on Tuesday that he was still trying to overcome jet lag from his long journey across the Atlantic Ocean.
"I'm working on it right now," Kamara said. "Obviously, my mind is there. I want to be part of it. I came in [Monday]. I came into training [Tuesday], but my body was not, still lagging. I know it's a very important game this weekend for me. Mentally, I'm going to be ready. I'm just trying to get myself there physically."
In the Sept. 19 win, KC's high-pressure tactics worked quite well against the Red Bulls, throwing them out of their comfort zone.
Kamara indicated Sporting wasn't about to change a strategy that has worked so well for the Eastern Conference leaders.
"It's the way we play against any team," he said. "We try let them feel us physically. Playing against the Red Bulls, there has been kind of a talk in their locker room, saying that the way we play, we're rough, we're this. We just play the game. We just play soccer. I know they're ready. They can't wait to get back on the field. We can't wait to get back on the field. We always do well playing away. We're just going to go in there and play our game."