Henri Camara (born 10 May 1977) is a Senegalese footballer who plays for Apollon Smyrni as a striker.
Camara was born in Dakar to a Guinean father and a Senegalese mother. He began his career in France with RC Strasbourg (1998–1999), before playing for Swiss clubs Neuchâtel Xamax (1999–2000), and Grasshopper Club Zürich, where he won the Swiss Championship in 2001. He then returned to France with Sedan but sought a new move when they were relegated in 2003.
Camara joined newly promoted English Premier League club Wolverhampton Wanderers in August 2003 in a four-year deal for £1.5million. He was a regular first-choice player, capable of creating goalscoring opportunities, but often guilty of erratic finishing that left him with just one goal from 23 games, this goal being the crucial winner as Wolves came back from 3 down at half time to beat relegation rivals Leicester City 4–3. Towards the end of the season, he found his scoring touch and struck 6 times in the final 9 games. While this could not prevent relegation, he was named the fans' Player of the Year.
However, Camara was unwilling to play at a lower level and did not turn up for pre-season training. His future was further unsettled by a bid from Phil Gartside, Bolton Wanderers' chairman, which Wolves chief executive Jez Moxey rejected. He eventually returned to the club but only to negotiate a loan move away.
Camara's route out of Wolves came in the form of Celtic, who paid £1.5million to take him on loan for the 2004–05 season. His time in Scotland was disappointing, though, as he scored eight goals from twelve starts and six substitute appearances. Camara claimed in the press that he would replace Henrik Larsson, who had just left the club. He also requested Larsson's squad number (7) which he had had at a previous club as well, but was instead given number 27.
The loan deal was terminated during the January 2005 transfer window despite being contracted for longer, as he moved back to England with Southampton. Here, he suffered relegation again as the Saints made the drop on the final day of the season.
Camara finally found a new permanent club when he was signed by Premiership newcomers Wigan Athletic in August 2005 in a three-year deal for £3million. In 2006, his contract was extended to 2009 due to his outstanding goal scoring form. He had a great time playing with Jason Roberts as they linked well. He again found himself in a Premier League relegation battle, but it ended third time lucky for him as Wigan made a last day escape at the expense of Sheffield United.
After Wigan manager Paul Jewell's resignation, Camara found himself out of favour at Wigan and he was loaned out to West Ham United, for the duration of the 2007–08 season, at the end of the Summer transfer window. By his own admission, he has had a torrid time at West Ham and wants to preferably find another club in England. Despite allowing him to leave on loan Steve Bruce suggested that if Camara wanted to stay at Wigan he was more than welcome to.
Camara scored a brace in his first game back for Wigan under Bruce in the 4–0 win in the League Cup over Notts County. He then scored the match winner against Everton in a 1–0 victory for Wigan at the JJB Stadium on 24 November 2008, their first win against Everton on home soil. He scored again against West Bromwich Albion the following match. Whilst at Wigan he started in the 2006 Football League Cup Final.
On 2 February 2009, Camara joined Stoke City on loan until the end of the season in search of regular first-team football. He missed a glaring opportunity straight after coming off the bench for his debut at Sunderland, smashing a volley from 6 yards against the bar with the entire goal to aim for. He was released by Wigan at the end of the 2008–09 season, after not being offered a new contract.
Camara spent much of the 2009 close-season on trial at Premier League club Hull City but was not offered a contract.
After initially rejecting a deal with the Blades, Camara signed a short term agreement with the Sheffield club until the end of the season. Camara made his début in a 4–3 loss to Cardiff City at the end of October and scored his first goal for the club in a 1–0 win over Peterborough United a month later. He made 23 appearances that season, often from the bench, and scored four goals but was released when his contract expired as the club sought to cut the wage bill.
On 11 May 2010, Camara signed a one-year deal with Greek Superleague side Atromitos.
On 19 June 2011, Camara signed a one-year deal with Greek Superleague side Panetolikos. Despite appearing in all 30 league games and being Panetolikos' top scorer for the season with 7 goals, he couldn't help his team avoid relegation.
Camara signed another one-year deal with Panetolikos on 27 August 2012, and, by scoring 10 goals in the regular season and 3 goals in the playoffs, helped the team return to the Greek Superleague after only one year at the Greek Football League.
In the summer of 2013, he signed a third one-year deal with Panetolikos.
On 12 May 2014, Camara signed a year deal with Kalloni, for an undisclosed fee. He resigned on 1 February 2015.
On 2 February 2015, Lamia announced the signing of the player for the rest of the season.
On 18 August 2015, Camara returned to Panetolikos F.C., signing a one-year contract. On 18 January 2016 Camara and Panetolikos F.C. parted ways. Having received an offer from Apollon Smyrni F.C., Camara asked for his contract with Panetolikos F.C. to be terminated, in an attempt to get more playing time and reach 100 Senegal caps.
On 19 January 2016, Camara joined Apollon Smyrni.
Camara made his international debut for Senegal in a 1–1 African Cup of Nations qualifier against Nigeria on 28 February 1999. He went on to play in their surprising run at the 2002 World Cup, scoring two goals – one a golden goal – in the Round of 16 against Sweden, which took them to the quarter-finals for the only time in their history. He was also part of the 2004, 2006 and 2008 Africa Cup of Nations squads.
Camara also featured in Ronaldinho's squad for a charity football match. The match was between Europe and the rest of the world. Camara came on as a substitute and scored 2 goals in the second half of the game to help his team take the victory.
Internationally, Camara could have played for Guinea as his father was born in Guinea. On choosing Senegal, he explained, "I was born in Senegal but my father is from Guinea, so, yes, I could have played with Momo Sylla in the Guinea national team. When I was young, I received an invitation from the Senegal youth team and my dad didn't want me to play. His dream was for me to play for Guinea. But I didn't know Guinea very well. Senegal was my country, so it was an easy decision for me to make."
- As of 9 January 2016.
|Club||Season||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Europe||Total|
|Strasbourg||1998–99||French Division 1||0||0||0||0||0||0||–||0||0|
|Neuchâtel Xamax||1999–2000||Swiss Nationalliga A||32||17||0||0||–||–||32||17|
|Grasshopper Club Zürich||2000–01||Swiss Nationalliga A||11||3||0||0||–||–||11||3|
|Sedan||2001–02||French Division 1||25||8||0||0||0||0||2||0||27||8|
|Wolverhampton Wanderers||2003–04||Premier League||30||7||0||0||2||0||–||32||7|
|Celtic (loan)||2004–05||Scottish Premier League||18||8||1||0||1||0||6||0||26||8|
|Southampton (loan)||2004–05||Premier League||13||4||3||2||0||0||–||16||6|
|Wigan Athletic||2005–06||Premier League||29||12||0||0||3||0||–||32||12|
|West Ham United (loan)||2007–08||Premier League||10||0||0||0||0||0||–||10||0|
|Stoke City (loan)||2008–09||Premier League||4||0||0||0||0||0||–||4||0|
|2012–13||Football League Greece||40||13||1||0||–||–||41||13|
|Lamia||2014–15||Football League Greece||9||1||0||0||–||–||9||1|
|Senegal national team|
- Updated to games played 21 June 2008.
|1.||6 June 1999||Stade du 4-Août, Ouagadougou||Burkina Faso||1–0||2–2||1999 African Cup of Nations qualifier|
|2.||20 August 1999||Cicero Stadium, Asmara||Eritrea||1–0||2–0||2000 African Cup of Nations qualifier|
|3.||25 January 2000||Sani Abacha Stadium, Kano||Burkina Faso||1–0||3–1||2000 African Cup of Nations|
|4.||1 February 2000||National Stadium, Lagos||Zambia||1–0||2–2||2000 African Cup of Nations|
|5.||10 March 2001||Stade Leopold Senghor, Dakar||Namibia||4–0||4–0||2002 World Cup qualifier|
|6.||24 March 2001||Stade Leopold Senghor, Dakar||Uganda||2–0||2–0||2002 African Cup of Nations qualifier|
|7.||30 December 2001||Stade Leopold Senghor, Dakar||Algeria||1–0||1–0||Friendly|
|8.||16 June 2002||Ōita Bank Dome, Ōita||Sweden||1–1||2–1||2002 World Cup|
|10.||8 September 2002||Setsoso Stadium, Maseru||Lesotho||1–0||1–0||2004 African Cup of Nations qualifier|
|11.||7 June 2003||Stade Leopold Senghor, Dakar||Gambia||2–0||3–1||2004 African Cup of Nations qualifier|
|12.||14 June 2003||Stade Leopold Senghor, Dakar||Lesotho||2–0||3–0||2004 African Cup of Nations qualifier|
|14.||18 August 2004||Stade Pierre de Coubertin, Avignon||Ivory Coast||1–0||1–2||Friendly|
|15.||5 September 2004||Stade 26 mars, Bamako||Mali||1–1||2–2||2006 World Cup qualifier|
|16.||10 October 2004||National Complex, Paynesville||Liberia||2–0||3–0||2006 World Cup qualifier|
|18.||26 March 2005||Stade Leopold Senghor, Dakar||Liberia||4–0||6–1||2006 World Cup qualifier|
|19.||18 June 2005||Stade Leopold Senghor, Dakar||Togo||2–1||2–2||2006 World Cup qualifier|
|20.||8 October 2005||Stade Leopold Senghor, Dakar||Mali||1–0||3–0||2006 World Cup qualifier|
|22.||23 January 2006||Port Said Stadium, Port Said||Zimbabwe||1–0||2–0||2006 Africa Cup of Nations|
|23.||3 February 2006||Harras El-Hedoud Stadium, Alexandria||Guinea||3–1||3–2||2006 Africa Cup of Nations|
|24.||8 September 2007||Stade Leopold Senghor, Dakar||Burkina Faso||3–1||5–1||2008 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier|
|26.||17 November 2007||Stade Olympique Yves-du-Manoir, Colombes||Mali||1–0||3–2||Friendly|
|27.||12 January 2008||Stade Leopold Senghor, Dakar||Namibia||3–1||3–1||Friendly|
|28.||31 January 2008||Baba Yara Stadium, Kumasi||South Africa||1–1||1–1||2008 Africa Cup of Nations|
|29.||21 June 2008||Stade Leopold Senghor, Dakar||Liberia||3–0||3–1||2010 World Cup qualifier|
Camara has a son, Henri Jr. (born 11 November 2006) with his wife.