Bolt not to give up on foot­ball ca­reer

It’s sad it didn’t work out, he says af­ter his trial with Aus­tralian club ends

Gulf News - - News -

Su­per­star sprinter Usain Bolt is adamant he can be­come a pro­fes­sional foot­baller de­spite his trial with an Aus­tralian club end­ing, in­sist­ing yes­ter­day: “I still have it”.

The eight-time Olympic cham­pion’s “in­def­i­nite” try-out pe­riod with the A-League’s Cen­tral Coast Mariners col­lapsed on Fri­day af­ter con­tract talks failed.

The club re­port­edly of­fered him only a frac­tion of the Aus$3 mil­lion (US$2.1 mil­lion) his man­agers were seek­ing, and the out­side spon­sors needed to make the deal vi­able could not be found. “It’s sad that it didn’t work out,” the Ja­maican 100m and 200m world record holder told Mel­bourne’s Her­ald Sun news­pa­per at the Derby Day horse races in Mel­bourne, where he ar­rived in a suit, sun­glasses and with a gold-han­dled cane. “But we parted on good terms, and that’s a good thing.

“I had a great ex­pe­ri­ence with them. The guys were great — we just couldn’t work out things with the con­tract, but hope­fully I get an­other chance with an­other team.”

Bolt, who re­tired from ath­let­ics last year, has long dreamed of be­com­ing a soc­cer player and had been train­ing with the Mariners since Au­gust, spark­ing global in­ter­est when he scored two goals in a pre­sea­son friendly. But the staunch Manch­ester United fan’s abil­i­ties were ques­tioned by pun­dits and some play­ers and he has now had tri­als with clubs in Ger­many, South Africa, Nor­way, and Aus­tralia to no avail.

Asked if he would keep pur­su­ing his quest to be­come a foot­baller de­spite an­other set­back, the 32-year-old said: “For sure.

“We’ll see what hap­pens. I think peo­ple are still con­tact­ing my agent now about op­por­tu­ni­ties, so we’ll see in which di­rec­tion it goes.

“For me, I’ve learnt that I still have it. I fig­ure that I was im­prov­ing a lot, so as you can see from the first game to the last game, I re­ally im­proved and did bet­ter. I’ve learnt that it’s a lit­tle bit harder, but it’s all about ded­i­ca­tion and work with the team.”

He has been urged by the head of the Ja­maican FA to re­turn home and play for a lo­cal club, with the prospect that he could be called up for in­ter­na­tional duty.

AP

Usain Bolt

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