Kei Ansu Kamara

By Mohamed Fajah Barrie in Limbe

Leone Stars players have stood by Kei Kamara after his penalty miss against Equatorial Guinea at the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.

Kamara’s late penalty miss cost Sierra Leone a place in the last 16 as they’re out of the tournament.

“I stand by him, we stand by him,” said Steven Caulker.

The former Liverpool and Tottenham player added: “Most of us are here because of Kei. He’s our ringleader, he’s our leader, and he’s everything to me, everything to us.

“He was brave enough to step up and take the penalty. He scored the penalty to take us to this Afcon in the first place.”

Kamara who was consoled by teammates and hugged by his wife and children after the match was in tears for failing to convert the penalty.

His house in Freetown had to be protected by the police as some angry Sierra Leonean fans wanted to vandalise it, like what they did to Umaru Bangura when he missed a penalty against Liberia in September 2019.

Leone Stars players, officials and supporters are expected to leave Cameroon on Saturday.

Caulker says they’re leaving the tournament with their heads held up despite the early exit.

“We win or lose together. We leave to fight another day.”

“I want to take the positives from the tournament in which we held our heads up against two top sides Algeria and Ivory Coast.

“Unfortunately we lost against Equatorial Guinea, we weren’t at our best in the first half, they got the goal and they defended well.”