Idriss Carlos Kameni (born 18 February 1984) is a Cameroonian professional footballer who plays for Spanish club Málaga CF as a goalkeeper.
He spent the vast majority of his career in Spain, mainly with Espanyol, with which he appeared in 229 official games over the course of eight La Liga seasons.
A Cameroonian international before he was 20, Kameni represented the country in two World Cups and five Africa Cup of Nations tournaments.
Born in Douala, Kameni was first spotted when, aged 16, he became the youngest footballer to win an Olympic gold medal, in 2000. This earned him a transfer to French club Le Havre AC but he was unable to break into the first team, and remained a reserve throughout his four-year stay, also being loaned to AS Saint-Étienne and also failing to gain any playing time there; in 2001 he was linked with a move to Juventus FC, but nothing came of it.
Kameni almost moved to Premier League's Wolverhampton Wanderers on a season-long loan for 2003–04, but the deal collapsed after he was not granted a United Kingdom work permit.
20-year-old Kameni left for Spanish side RCD Espanyol in July 2004, for US$600,000, and became first-choice in his second year, winning the Copa del Rey as backup to Gorka Iraizoz, who started in La Liga. In 2006–07, the opposite: Kameni was the undisputed starter, and Iraizoz was picked for the Catalans' UEFA Cup runner-up campaign; early in 2006, the club suspended two fans for racist abuse towards the player.
In 2008–09, a tense season for Espanyol, which ranked in the bottom three for a lengthy period, Kameni had two incidents: first, he had a near-physical confrontation with a fan (who first insulted the player) after a training session in January, then fought with teammate Grégory Béranger again in training, in May. He still featured in 37 out of 38 league games, being essential to the side's maintenance and, during the campaign, also broke countryman's Thomas N'Kono record of minutes without conceding a goal, at 497.
After two more seasons as starter, Kameni was demoted to third-choice for 2011–12, with Argentine Mauricio Pochettino still as Espanyol's manager. On 13 January 2012 he moved to fellow league side Málaga CF, making his league debut on 25 March after replacing injured Willy Caballero during the first half of a 2–1 away win against his former team, and keeping a clean sheet during his time on the pitch.
After Caballero left for Manchester City, Kameni became the starter. On 26 September 2015, in a game where Real Madrid registered 31 shots, he put on a Man of the match performance in a 0–0 draw at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium. The following matchday, he became the first club goalkeeper to provide an assist in the Spanish top flight, as Charles scored the second of his three goals in a 3–1 home win against Real Sociedad.
On 2 March 2016, Kameni scored a bizarre own goal in an eventual 1–2 home loss to Valencia CF. Three days later, at Deportivo de La Coruña, he had to be replaced shortly before half-time due to injury, as the match went on to end 3–3.
On 19 November 2016, Kameni denied hosts FC Barcelona on several occasions, in a 0–0 draw.
A Cameroonian international since the age of 17, Kameni was part of the national team squads at the 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2008 Africa Cup of Nations, starting in all but the first. In addition he also represented the nation at the 2003 FIFA Confederations Cup, also as first-choice for the eventual runners-up.
In 2002, aged 18, Kameni was picked for Cameroon's squad-of-23 at the 2002 FIFA World Cup. He was named Best African Goalkeeper for 2006–07, after being runner-up in the previous season.
Kameni was also chosen for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, being expected to start by many observers. However, he ended up on the bench as coach Paul Le Guen preferred Souleymanou Hamidou over him, and the national side was the first team to be eliminated from the tournament, eventually losing all three group matches.
On 27 October 2015, more than two years after being left out of consideration for selection for "trying to orchestrate disorder", Kameni was called by new manager Volker Finke for a game against Niger for the 2018 World Cup qualifiers.
Kameni's older brother, Mathurin, was also a footballer and a goalkeeper.Espanyol
Copa del Rey: 2005–06
UEFA Cup: Runner-up 2006–07
Málaga Player of the Year: 2014–15
Summer Olympics: 2000
Africa Cup of Nations: 2002
FIFA Confederations Cup: Runner-up 2003