Club World Cup dream nears reality
‘‘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.’’
Scott Basalaj hoofs the ball up the field during Team Wellington’s lopsided first leg tie against Lautoka.