Mauritania international Khassa Camara was Gerard Nus' first acquisition following his appointment as head coach of NorthEast United. The 28-year-old midfielder arrives in India with huge expectations on his shoulders, ahead of ISL 2020-21.
A strong presence in the middle of the park, Camara can operate in central midfielder or play a deeper holding role as a defensive lynchpin. His versatility allows him to slot in at right-back if required. Khassa Camara has big boots to fill at NEUFC this season, and is tasked with the role of replacing midfield general Jose Leudo. The Colombian was an instrumental leader on and off the pitch for the Highlanders during his tenure and Camara will be expected to replicate Leudo's impact.
Khassa Camara's Early Beginnings in France
Born in France's Chatenay-Malabry, Camara began his youth career with French Ligue 2 side ES Troyes AC. He was promoted from ESTAC's B team to the senior squad but failed to receive game time in his first full season in professional football. He made his senior debut against Montepellier and made ten more appearances for Troyes before being loaned out to Boulogne midway through the 2014-15 season. He ended his loan tenure after nine matches for Boulogne.
Development in Greece
Camara headed to Greece following his French stint, joining second-tier outfit GS Ergotelis. After seven games and half a season later, Camara was snapped up by top tier Greek side AO Xanthi.
Camara was a regular fixture at Xanthi amassing 79 league appearances and registered two assists.
Although born in France, Camara chose to represent Mauritania. He made his international debut back in 2013 against Canada in an international friendly.
He played two more friendly matches against Canada before being part of the Mauritanian squad in the 2018 World Cup qualifying rounds. The holding-midfielder appeared in three matches in the World Cup qualifiers, twice against Tunisia and once against South Sudan.
He also represented Mauritania in the 2019 African Cup of Nations and made two appearances for his side in the tournament, before they were eliminated in the group stage. Camara has racked up 27 caps for the national team and scored once.
On 24 September 2020, NorthEast United FC confirmed the signing of Khassa Camara. He has penned a one-year deal and will don the number 6 jersey for the Highlanders. Camara is expected to start against Mumbai City FC in their opening fixture on November 21.