Sandals For Goalposts recently managed to catch up with former Guinea international Titi Camara for an exclusive interview. Camara enjoyed a good career which took him to France, England, Saudi Arabia, Qatar before ending it back in France with Amiens. He played football with joie de vivre and an undiluted smile beamed when he scored goals, a smile that reflected that football should be about having fun and made him the type of player that was difficult to detest, even if you were a rival fan of the teams played for.
And there was substance behind that smile – a successful career in France, a glorious short spell with Liverpool, finishing 91st in the ‘100 Players That Shook The Kop’ compilation by Liverpool FC (the second highest placed African player, behind Bruce Grobbelaar), and a prolific goal-scoring record which propelled Guinean football back to Africa’s footballing summit.
Camara, who is the current Sports Minister of Guinea, took time out of his hectic schedule to answer a few questions about Liverpool, the Guinea national team and his career in general. Here we go:
How did you get into football? Which youth teams did you play for in Guinea and how did you get to Saint Etienne?
My father was a huge inspiration. My first professional team was AS Kaloum Star, then the opportunity came to play in France, I enjoyed my time there greatly.
Did you look up to any players when you were growing up?
There was only one…Pele.
Impressively, despite only being at Liverpool for a year, you became an instant cult hero and finished 91st in the ‘100 Players That Shook The Kop’ list! What was the experience of playing for a big club like Liverpool like?
Was such an honour to play for such a great club and the fans are unbelievable. I was taken back by how they support when the team is losing.
How do you rate Liverpool’s chances this season; do you think they can make the top 4?
Not the greatest of starts. Top four would be great achievement but scoring goals may be their downfall this year.
Guinea won the hearts of neutrals with their kits and attacking football at the 2004 Cup of Nations in Tunisia and were desperately unlucky to go out in the quarter finals to Mali. What was it like to play in that team and under Michel Dussuyer?
Michel is a very educated football man, I still have a good relationship with him. It is always a honour to represent my country, I feel proud to have achieved great things in my homeland
Guinea seem to have the roots in place for a successful team with a promising spine of Lass Bangoura, Abdoul Camara, Kevin Constant, Sadio Diallo and plenty of other young players forging good careers in Europe. How far do you think this side can go?
I feel with players progressing very well over next years and gaining experience we can progress to at least semi finals, hopefully all the way.
You are the current Sports Minister of Guinea! Apart from football, what other sports do Guineans love?
I would say basketball and also volleyball.
What was the best moment of your career?
Every single second was special, I feel blessed to have had a career in something I loved doing.
Who was the best player you played with?
Robbie Fowler was the best goalscorer I played with, very clinical.
Who was the best player you played against?
Crespo was such a class act.
Which team do you think will win the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations?
Why not Guinea!?
Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo?
Messi, and still so young.
Didier Drogba or George Weah?
King Weah haha
Michael Essien or Yaya Toure?
Rigobert Song or Bobo Balde?
Hard choice, but will go with Rigobert.
And that’s that. We would like to thank Titi for his time and wish him all the best in his role as Sports Minister of Guinea!