Usain Bolt to take week-long break from A-League's Central Coast Mariners due to overseas commitments
Olympic sprint champion Usain Bolt will put his efforts to carve out a football career on hold for a week to fulfil a “previously planned” overseas commitments.
Sydney: Olympic sprint champion Usain Bolt will put his efforts to carve out a football career on hold for a week to fulfil a “previously planned” overseas commitments, the A-League’s Central Coast Mariners said on Saturday.
The 32-year-old Jamaican has been trialling with the Mariners for the last three weeks in the hope of securing a professional contract for the 2018-19 A-League campaign.
The break, from 9-16 September, had been agreed before he joined Mike Mulvey’s team for training, the club said in a statement.
Bolt made his debut for the Mariners on 31 August, coming off the bench for 18 minutes against a local amateur side.
The Mariners won the game 6-1 but Bolt looked well short of match fitness and lacked the touch on the ball of many of his teammates. Bolt himself said he would need at least four months to get up to speed.
Bolt’s attempt to transform himself from the face of global athletics to professional football player has generated huge publicity for the Mariners, who finished bottom of the 10-team A-League last season.
It has also drawn scepticism, with Adelaide United coach Marco Kurz questioning Bolt’s open-ended trial, saying the A-League should focus on recruiting proven talents and improving Australian youngsters.
A virtual executive committee meeting chaired by recently elected president Patrice Motsepe from South Africa also decided that a draw to divide the 24 qualifiers into six groups will be held on 25 June.
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The AIFF said it will take a decision on the fate of the tournament at a later date. Earlier, the AIFF had said that the tournament would have to be held in May at the latest.