Author: Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rüdd

Footballing future on the line for Jamaican icon

Usain Bolt faces what he considers to be a significant make-or-break friendly if he turns out for Australian top-flight side Central Coast Mariners on Friday.

The retired Jamaican sprinting legend, who has set his heart on becoming a professional footballer, is on trial with the A-League club. Yet he has made just an 18-minute cameo substitute appearance since joining in August.

He was overlooked for last Friday’s friendly but kept on the bench, seemingly used as a marketing tool to boast ticket sales.

He appears more buoyant about the prospect of taking to the pitch when Mariners tackle MacArthur South West United this Friday.

The 32-year-old, who has enjoyed intensive one-to-one coaching in a bid to improve his technical skills, is potentially going to be utilised in a new role at Sydney’s Campbelltown Stadium.

Ambitious coach Mike Mulvey, who is adamant that a decision whether to sign Bolt will be made in December or January, is expected to unleash the world’s fastest man further up the field than the Jamaican is used to – having only played on the left wing so far for Mariners and that was against a team of amateurs.

Bolt, aware that he has yet to make an impact with the season kicking off later this month, admitted: “This is going to be a big game, and will determine if the club makes up its mind on what to do with my career.

“The coach said he wants to play me up top more. As there’s a few first team boys in the team for Friday I’ll get a different service because they’re more seasoned and more mature.

“He just told me to make sure I’m focused and push myself, and I’ll just take the chances when I get them.”

Whether Bolt will start is anyone’s guess as it could be a further marketing ploy by the Mariners. Should he get a game then it sounds like this is his sole chance to impress Mulvey and potentially carve out the career he so desires.

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Footballing future on the line for Jamaican icon Usain Bolt faces what he considers to be a significant make-or-break friendly if he turns out for Australian top-flight side Central Coast Mariners on Friday. The retired Jamaican sprinting legend, who has set his heart on becoming a professional footballer, is on trial...

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