Club World Cup dream nears re­al­ity

The Timaru Herald - - FRONT PAGE -

‘‘There’s quite a few play­ers who have been sort of snubbed from con­tracts else­where and from age group New Zealand teams so it’s great for them, and for all of us re­ally, to be able to go to a Fifa tour­na­ment,’’ he said.

‘‘I’m lucky to have been to a few and it’s such an un­be­liev­able ex­pe­ri­ence. For all of us to share that ex­pe­ri­ence would be pretty cool, but we still have a job to do on Sun­day. It is easy to get car­ried away and talk about the Club World Cup in De­cem­ber but we re­ally want to put the game to bed.’’

Basalaj hasn’t ex­actly given up hope of be­com­ing a pro­fes­sional football player again him­self ei­ther, af­ter brief spells Partick Thistle and Welling­ton Phoenix. But he ad­mit­ted he’s hap­pier now work­ing as an ap­pren­tice builder than he was as an as­pir­ing pro. He has a young fam­ily in Welling­ton and if he sees out his career in the ISPS Handa Pre­mier­ship then that’s fine by him.

‘‘I’ve set­tled down now, I’ve got a part­ner and a young boy and I’m work­ing full­time so for me football is just a bonus now and I’m lucky that I can play football at the high­est level in the coun­try. I’ve been thor­oughly en­joy­ing my football since I stopped be­ing pro­fes­sional, which is quite funny. Ob­vi­ously it would be fan­tas­tic and it was a child­hood dream of mine to be a pro foot­baller for the rest of my life but you can only do that to a cer­tain age any­way.

‘‘When I was younger I piled a lot of pres­sure on my­self to per­form be­cause that’s what I wanted to do, to be a full­time foot­baller. Although I still want to play well ev­ery game, it’s not career-threat­en­ing whether I have a good game or train­ing and that men­tal as­pect from my end has changed quite a lot but for the bet­ter.’’

GETTY IM­AGES

Scott Basalaj hoofs the ball up the field dur­ing Team Welling­ton’s lop­sided first leg tie against Lau­toka.

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