January 27, 2016 By Sahr Morris Jr.
Sierra Leone striker, Kei Kamara, is reportedly in a contract dispute with his club Columbus Crew.
The forward, who led Crew to the U.S. Major League Soccer (MLS) Cup final last month, is said to be seeking to renegotiate a deal that was worth US$536,666 last season, which leaves him third on the club’s payroll behind Argentine attacker Federico Higuain, who received almost US$1.2 million, and Argentine defender Gaston Sauro, who collected about US$600,000.
Kamara is yet to report for the team’s training camp which opened last Saturday in Lakewood Ranch, and could face a fine if he does not join the team soon. Whether he would participate in workouts during the impasse is unclear.
Before leaving for Florida, Crew coach Gregg Berhalter told reporters in Columbus last week that Kamara was working on [his] fitness.
“Kei Kamara was granted excused time off to be with his family in Ohio after he returned from his visit to his home country of Sierra Leone for the first time in multiple years,” the club said in a written statement. “We look forward to him joining the team on Tuesday [January 26] to begin preparations for a successful 2016 campaign.”
The former Norwich hit-man has two years left on his contract and has so far refused to make any comment on the issue.
Kamara, who returned to the MLS last season after two years in England, also had a league-high four goals in the playoffs, including one in the championship defeat to Portland Timbers.
Columbus Crew’s first competitive matches are in mid-February at the Desert Diamond Cup, a preseason tournament in Tucson.
The regular season opener is a March 6 rematch with Portland.