KINGSTON, Jamaica, CMC – Jamaica’s Football Federation says it is monitoring sprint legend Usain Bolt’s efforts at becoming a professional footballer, and is willing to select him for Reggae Boyz duty once he proves his worth.
The 32-year-old Bolt quit track and field following last year’s World Championships in London and has spent his time since attempting to convert himself into a footballer, while also trying to land a professional contract.
He is currently mulling over an offer from A-League outfit Central Coast Mariners with whom he has spent the last few months undergoing trial.
“I am a little disappointed that Usain Bolt hasn’t signed up with a Jamaican club. That would give us a chance to see a lot more of him,” said JFF president, Michael Ricketts said.
“If he shows he’s good enough to make the Jamaican team then he will be called but we are following his progress – we are watching him closely. The coach will make a decision but we would love to see him in a serious real match situation.”
Bolt is a multiple-time World and Olympic champion and widely considered the finest sprinter to have graced the sport. He still holds the world records for the 100 and 200 metres.
He flirted with Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund during a trial in Germany before heading to Australia where he linked up with Mariners.
Earlier this month, Bolt scored twice in a trial match for Mariners, further enhancing his prospects of professional football.
“We are hopeful because Usain would certainly be a crowd puller. If he turns up in a Jamaican outfit then a lot of people would want to turn up and watch Usain Bolt play football,” Ricketts pointed out.
There have been question marks surrounding Bolt’s quest, however, with several believing his efforts to be nothing but a publicity stunt.
Only last week, former Irish international Andy Keogh, who currently plays in the A-League for Perth Glory, slammed Bolt’s ability, contending his presence in the league was an affront to the serious professionals plying their trade Down Under.
However, Ricketts said he envisioned Bolt becoming an asset to the Reggae Boyz once he can improve his skills set.
“Usain has a special attribute in his speed. If he can add a little bit of skill, some flair, he could supplement this Jamaican team,” Ricketts argued.
“The players would certainly welcome someone like Usain. I have had informal discussions with some of them and they are excited at the prospect of playing with Usain.”
He added: “If he can make the transition from being a superstar on the track to being a good enough football player, then we will certainly call him up.”
Reggae Boyz are the highest-ranked Caribbean side in the FIFA rankings, and have been good enough to reach the final of the last two CONCACAF Gold Cups.