Athlete turned footballer Usain Bolt is unconcerned by heavy criticism coming his way from opposing supporters or the media, after a cameo appearance off the bench for Central Coast Mariners.
The Jamaican track legend played a little more than 20 minutes for the Mariners in a 6-1 triumph over a Central Coast select side in Gosford on Friday.
Bolt tired quickly in the game, later conceding he needs to work at his perseverance, and he knows that he could come in for some criticism. As a keen cricket fan he will be more than acquainted with the Australian specialty of sledging, but it isn’t something that stresses him.
Admitting to some early nerves, Bolt said he enjoyed every minute he played. It was something of a blended football debut from the former eight-time Olympic and 11-time world champion.
Bolt and Mariners’ manager Mike Mulvey appraised his performances as GOOD, however former Socceroo Mark Bosnich player now pundits admit that Bolt still had a considerable measure of work to do.
Playing as a winger and striker, he got a couple of touches, almost came close on scoring in stoppage time and has the keen confidence to run towards the opposing defenders. But Bolt was plainly shy of football fitness and sometimes lost possession and didn’t generally read where his teammates passes were going.
The Jamaican said fitness apart, his movement off the ball was the aspect he most expected to progress.
“Knowing and understanding where I should be when the ball is played to the wing or inside and on defence, it’s all about the movement,”
While he received a rapturous reception from the fans of 10,000, Bolt beleives he could get a rougher ride somewhere in a country where sledging is an art from and a staple at sporting venues.
“Home games I don’t have to worry about that, I think maybe away games will be a little bit different,” he said. “But for me I’m used to stuff like that, also from competitors and the media.”
“We don’t have the contact [in football], so I don’t think it’s hard on my body, so I’m good for five years,” Bolt said with a chuckle. “I’m in good shape and feeling young.
I’m in good shape and feeling young.”