In what could well be one of football’s great “Where were you…?” moments, here’s Usain Bolt coming off the bench to make his debut for the Central Coast Mariners on Friday.
As promised by Mariners coach Mike Mulvey earlier this week, the Jamaican sprinter managed a few minutes toward the end of the A-League side’s pre-season friendly against a Select XI made up of semi-pro and amateur players from the local Gosford area.
— Central Coast Mariners (@CCMariners) 31 August 2018
Bolt entered the fray in the 72nd minute to a rapturous welcome from the 10,000 fans inside Central Coast Stadium as fireworks were let off overhead.
Playing on the left wing, the Olympian proceeded to botch his first touch (though in fairness, the pass into him was massively over-hit) and then miss “several opportunities” to score while generally impressing with his effort levels, according to the match report from News.au.
The Mariners eventually went on to win 6-1, with the man himself appreciate of the welcome he was afforded by the fans:
It was good, the crowd gave me a good ovation and I appreciate that. I wish I had more touches but I’m not fit yet so I’ve just got to put in the work and get up to speed.
I’m looking forward to a great season.
Analysing the game afterwards, ex-Aston Villa and Manchester United goalkeeper Mark Bosnich wasn’t quite as positive about Bolt’s debut performance, airing concerns over the 32-year-old’s shaky skill level:
They need to be very patient with him. He needs a lot of work. Forget about the fitness, he needs a lot of work on his skill.
He (Bolt) mentioned four or five months so the question the club have got to ask themselves is are they going to stand by him?
Mulvey said he was willing to give him 12 months, but they are going to have to be patient with him, because that was very apparent tonight.
But if there is anyone who can do it, it’s the world’s fastest man.