Sports Xtra

Usain Bolt to make Central Coast Mariners debut in friendly

Written by Christine Dzakah
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Usain Bolt is set to make his debut for Central Coast Mariners, despite saying he is struggling with the physical demands of professional football.

The Jamaican eight-time Olympic sprint champion, 31, joined the Australian A-League side for an "indefinite training period" earlier this month.

The Mariners will face an amateur side in a pre-season friendly on Friday.

Coach Mike Mulvey said Bolt has "rudimentary skills", adding: "I imagine he'll get some minutes."

Mulvey said the 100m and 200m world record holder was "doing OK" but would take some time "to adjust".

He said: "The things we are asking him to do are things that he hasn't done for quite some years.

"He has played football as an athlete in between athletic meets so he has rudimentary skills. It's about being able to do it at the speed that we do it."

The 11-time world sprint champion has been playing as a left winger in training but said he still needs to "get up to pace" with the stop-start nature of football matches.

"Because I'm not used to picking up speed, going back down, up and down, up and down, back and forth, that's the most challenging," he said.

"The [A-League] season doesn't start until the end of October so I have time."

Bolt, who retired from athletics in 2017, has previously trained with Borussia Dortmund, South African club Mamelodi Sundowns and Norway's Stromsgodset.

He said he had always "dreamed" of playing professional football and was starting to see improvements in his game.

"For me it's about just getting fit and as many touches of the ball that I can. The more I play, the more comfortable I get," he said.

Source: bbc