Football fans are anxiously awaiting the debut of Usain Bolt for the Central Coast Mariners.
Bolt seems to be interested in gaining a job in the A-League, but it is obvious to both he and interested observers that he is not quite of the fitness level football requires.
Running fast and the title of World’s Fastest Man, combined with his superb athleticism, should enable Bolt to make the code jump.
His aims seem modest, too. He mentioned hopes of playing for 20 minutes against a Central Coast Selection side, but Mariners’ Coach Mike Mulvey mentioned that much depends on Bolt’s ability to recover physically from the demands of training that have left him sore and slow.
Bolt is now taking on the full training program with his teammates and the pace of the practice sessions have proved challenging for a man accustomed to doing all his work in the span of under 30 seconds.
“The thing he’s struggling with more than anything else at the moment is getting used to the football fitness,” Mariners coach Mike Mulvey said to reporters after the session.“When you do track and field it’s a straight line and a track coach will never ask you to decelerate or accelerate the way that we do. It’s multi-directional, football, and he has to get used to that.”
Bolt is in the enviable positon of being financially secure enough that food on his table and a roof over his head are not imperatives for him.
The multiple Olympic Gold Medalist is of the opinion that his football fitness is improving, but he admits that the shift from bursting out of starting blocks to getting his head around football will take time.
“For me it’s just getting fit and getting a lot of touches on the ball. The more I play the more comfortable I get — the coaches have explained that to me,” Bolt said.
The upcoming game on Friday night may well see attendance beyond the expected, which alone make the Mariners’ move a sound one.