Usain Bolt makes respectable preseason debut for Central Coast Mariners

Usain Bolt makes respectable preseason debut for Central Coast Mariners

Usain Bolt makes respectable preseason debut for Central Coast Mariners

Usain Bolt was set to make his debut for an Australian club today in the latest stage of his attempt to win a professional football contract.

A crowd of 9,958 - around 2,500 higher than the Mariners' average home attendance last season - turned up to a preseason friendly in a regional town almost 100 kilometers north of Sydney to see a match between the A-League's lowest-ranked team and a side comprising amateur players.

He was named on the team sheet among the substitutes with the letter "T" for triallist next to his name.

Wearing No. 95, a nod to his 100-meter world record time of 9.58 seconds, Bolt played the final 19 minutes and he had seven possessions and one shot.

Starting on the left wing, Bolt fluffed his first touch, making a run on the inside only for the through-ball to hit him on the heel. Bolt has regularly said his ambition is real. "The crowd really gave me a good ovation, I really appreciated that".

"He was on a hiding to nothing a little bit nervous, but I'm quite happy with him'". "I wish I had more touches, but I'm not fit yet, but I've just got to put in the work and get up to speed".

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Bolt has been training with the club for an "indefinite training period" and the 32-year-old admitted earlier this week he was struggling with the physical demands of professional football.

"I think the first 15 minutes was pretty good, but the last five I could feel my back getting a bit tight, but overall I wasn't too exhausted, so that's a good sign. I need probably two months to be properly fit but, in four months, I'll be one of the guys", enthused the Jamaican who is a fan of English premier league side Manchester United.

The crowd for Friday's match was about four times bigger than the average home attendance the Mariners attracted last season.

The man with the famous "Lightning Bolt" celebration failed to strike in the game, but had a half-chance shortly after coming on when the ball was whipped in, but misjudged the flight of the cross.

Mulvey also acknowledged Bolt was till some way off peak fitness but has said he is prepared to give him 12 months to prove himself. "But look, it's a special moment for him".

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