Kei Kamara deserves respect for his international career and what he has achieved for football in Sierra Leone, according to former national team captain Mohamed Kallon.
Veteran striker Kamara, 37, announced his retirement from Leone Stars duty last week, having scored seven goals in 38 appearances for the West African country.
“We should be proud of what he has done for Sierra Leone in the last 15 years,” Kallon, a former team-mate of Kamara, told BBC Sport Africa.
“He has given 110% whenever he was on the pitch defending his country. Surely he’s one of best players Sierra Leone have ever produced because of his contributions to Sierra Leone football generally.”
Both Kamara’s first and last international appearances were defeats by Equatorial Guinea, with his debut coming in June 2008 and his final outing at this year’s Africa Cup of Nations finals in Cameroon.
His highest and lowest points for the Leone Stars have come in the past 12 months. Last June he scored the goal against Benin which saw the side qualify for the Nations Cup for the first time since 1996.
That elation was in stark contrast to the moment he missed an 85th-minute penalty in what proved to be his final game in January, a group match against the Equatoguineans.
Sierra Leone were trailing 1-0 and had Kamara scored, it would almost likely have secured the draw which would have seen them advance to the last 16 of the tournament. The incident led to police having to protect his house in Freetown from angry fans.
Kallon believes Kamara, who plays for Major League Soccer side CF Montreal, should be hailed for what he has done for his country.
“He’s the most recognised Leone Stars player of the last 10 years,” ex-Inter Milan and Monaco forward Kallon, 42, added.
“With the kind of pedigree, fame and influence he showed around the national team makes him one of the most important players that have played for Sierra Leone.
“There’ll always be one Kei Kamara! The national team and the country as a whole will miss him.”