Le50 2017 – François Kamano

Kamano GDB

As an admirer of French Football, it can be tiresome batting off the constant ‘defensive’ tag that is applied, which is why when a pacy, direct and skilful player such as Bordeaux newcomer Francois Kamano is an instant success, it gives one reason to smile.

Aged 18 at the time, Kamano made his Bastia debut against Marseille in 2014,and despite only receiving an 8-minute bow it wouldn’t be long before the Corsican club took the flying number 25 to their hearts.

A low centre of gravity, rapid turn of pace and all-action style sets Kamano apart from many in Ligue 1. Comfortable in any position across the front three, although mostly at home in either wide position, Kamano possesses a natural flair and ability to beat a man one-on-one with raw pace or a quick exchange of passes before slipping in behind a defence.

Although sometimes predictable in his desire to cut inside from wide areas, the threat that he posed was clearly not lost on opponents, making him one the most fouled players in the French top flight; with a close dribbling ability coupled with the previously mentioned turn of speed, this would often see the Guinean international crudely stopped in full flight, thus providing key set pieces for Bastia, which was always one of the side’s stronger points.

During his time at Bastia which spanned three years between 2013 joining as a youth before leaving in 2016, Kamano was always destined for bigger things, despite a relatively low tally of seven goals in 47 full appearances in Ligue 1. One goal that stands out of those seven was a sumptuous chip over the helpless Metz keeper from 25 yards in a league game in February of 2015.

After such a promising start to his career – which earned him international recognition, including AFCON 2015 appearances and a total of 10 caps to date (two goals scored) – Kamano appeared to have stopped progressing in Corsica. He also seemed to be catching the contagious Bastian disease, accruing two red cards in consecutive matches midway through his second season on the island. It became clear that he needed a change of scenery. That change – and with it a step up – would come at the end of the 2015/16 season as Bordeaux made it clear that he was on their radar.

On July 27th 2016 Kamano sealed his transfer to the Stade Matmut Atlantique for just over £2m. He made an impressive 17 starts in 30 games selected, providing four assists and netting six league goals (as well as two Coupe de la Ligue goals) in his debut season, playing largely on the left hand side of a rejuvenated Bordeaux side that would go on to finish 6th in the table, and in so doing achieve Europa League playoff 3rd round qualification.

Looking to the future it’s hard to say whether or not a player like Kamano will ever make the step up to be a European superstar or indeed leave French shores for a bigger challenge, but at just 21 years of age, with three successful seasons under his belt and a growing reputation for excitement on the pitch, the youngster has many of the tools required to catch the eye of onlookers. How he matures in possession, decision-making, chance creation and finishing – and indeed how he handles the pressure of being a starting XI regular at a club the size of Bordeaux – will be key.

Kris Carpenter

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