Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Bolt given as long as it takes at Aussie club




Bolt given as long as it takes at Aussie club

Content image - Phnom Penh Post

Bolt given as long as it takes at Aussie club

Usain Bolt will be given as long as it takes to prove he deserves a playing contract, the Central Coast Mariners said on Wednesday after the Australian club agreed to help the sprint king realise his dream of becoming a professional footballer.

The 31-year-old eight-time Olympic champion, who retired from athletics last year, is an avid Manchester United fan who has long wanted to play top-flight football.

He has already tried out with teams in Germany, Norway and South Africa, to no avail.

Undeterred, the A-League club have agreed to see what he has to offer with the sprint legend set to arrive at their training ground in Gosford, 75km (47 miles) north of Sydney, later this month.

“It’s important to note that Usain Bolt comes to the Central Coast Mariners to train for an indefinite period. His training program will be structured to see if he can reach a level of playing that earns him a professional contract,” said Mariners chief executive Shaun Mielekamp.

“This may take three weeks, this may take three months, this may take six months. This make take longer, who knows. Only time will tell.

“It’s exciting to see what this will do for our region but the importance for us right now is to look after an athlete who’s coming to try and become a professional player.”

Bolt, who has agreed to live on the Central Coast, said he was thrilled to be given another chance to showcase his abilities ahead of the A-League season starting in October.

“I am very excited about coming to Australia and would like to thank the owner and management of the Central Coast Mariners for giving me this opportunity,” the Jamaican said.

“It has been my dream to play professional football and I know that it will involve a lot of hard work and training to get to the level required to play and make an impact in the A-League.

“I always say that ‘anything is possible, don’t think limits’ and I look forward to the challenge.”

The 100m and 200m world record-holder has previously trained with Norwegian club Stromsgodset, German Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund and South Africa’s Sundowns.

Asked what Bolt (pictured, AFP) needed to do to win a contract, Mielekamp said: “Impress the coach.”

“He has to get to a level where the coach is confident he’ll play regular football and once that decision is reached, then he’ll be offered a playing position,” he added.

Some fans on social media blasted the decision to take on Bolt as a publicity stunt, but Mielekamp said they would not be trying to cash in on his name until he proved himself.

“It not about having a gimmick or a campaign – Usain isn’t a contracted player so we won’t be launching him with a number or anything yet. Time will tell as things grow.”

Bolt dominated sprinting since taking double individual gold at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. He went on to win a further six Olympic golds and pick up 11 world titles.

MOST VIEWED

  • All inbound flights set to face added scrutiny

    Ministry of Health spokesperson Or Vandine said on Monday that the ministry is monitoring all inbound flights, after it was announced that only those from Malaysia and Indonesia will be temporarily cancelled from August 1. Vandine said on Monday that the two countries were identified as

  • Flights from Indonesia, Malaysia cancelled

    A Ministry of Health official has warned of the possibility of Covid-19 spreading through community transmission after the total infected cases in the Kingdom rose to 225. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine told reporters on Saturday that the possibility of community transmission cannot be overlooked and that

  • Man in quarantine dies of ‘overdose’

    The Ministry of Health on Thursday said a Cambodian migrant worker who died while being isolated at a quarantine centre in Tbong Khmum province’s Kroch Chhmar district may have died from syncope or overdose of tablets. In a statement, the ministry said the 21-year-old

  • Ministry set to reopen 20 schools in August

    The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport will allow 20 high-safety-standards schools to reopen next month despite new cases of Covid-19 in the country. Ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha wrote in a Telegram message on Wednesday that the schools are in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang.