Jamaica’s retired eight-time Olympic Champion Usain Bolt has switched from track and field to carve out a niche and make a name for himself on the football pitch.
He picked up his new gig in Australia where he is undergoing training with the view of getting a professional contract to strut his stuff.
He also made his debut for the Mariners on Friday, and from all reports acquitted himself well.
Coming off the bench in the A-League side’s 6-1 victory over a Central Coast Select XI, the 32-year-old Bolt played for 22 minutes and picked up the following stats:
Touches – 9
Times dispossessed – 3
Step-overs – 2
Completed passes – 1
Key passes – 0
Shots on target – 0
Shots-off target – 1
He also drew a record crowd of over 10,000 fans to the game and created sports headlines around the world such as:
Usain Bolt makes professional football debut with Central Mariners cameo
Usain Bolt’s professional soccer debut delivered on the hype, but not technique.
Usain Bolt is a soccer player now, and he is actually not terrible
Bolt, who wore the number 95 shirt, admitted he feels short of fitness but expects to be fully ready to contribute to the Mariners’ cause by the end of the year.
“I was a little bit nervous, but as soon as I got on the pitch, the nerves went,” he told Fox Sports.
“I’ve got to keep pushing myself, and I think I’ll be fine. I need probably two months to be properly fit but, in four months, I’ll be one of the guys.”
The former king sprinter would also have been encouraged by the view of Central Coast Mariner’s top honcho, Mike Mulvey.
“He didn’t disgrace himself, he did himself proud, he was on there for 20 mins,” Mulvey told Fox Sports.
“I said before the game that football movements are different to athletic movements, but he showed he has got some skills, he did okay.”
Asked for a timeframe for when Bolt may make his A-League debut, Mulvey added: “He’s here for the long haul if necessary, but my main focus is on getting the team ready to go for the start of the season. We have seven weeks to go.”
Edited by Robin Elliston
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