While South Africans may be reeling from a Cabinet reshuffle, the footballing community – in particular Mamelodi Sundowns fans – are reeling from a different sort of reality: Usain Bolt will not join the Brazilians.
News had been making the rounds that 2016 CAF Champions League champions Mamelodi Sundowns could pull off one of the greatest public relations coups d’état in sports history when it was believed that retired Jamaican sprint sensation Bolt would announce his move to the club on Wednesday.
This turned out to be a hoax as Bolt on Wednesday announced he will instead be leading the Soccer Aid World XI when they go head-to-head with an England XI led by singer-songwriter Robbie Williams in this year’s Soccer Aid match to be played at Old Trafford on June 10.
The match is expected to comprise a stellar list of stars playing with the goal of raising money for the United Nations Children’s Fund. The full team line-ups are to be announced in the coming weeks and will include some of football and showbiz’s biggest stars for the charity match. The match will take place just four days before the start of the World Cup in Russia.
Sundowns are no strangers to making headlines for signing big name players within the footballing fraternity. Peter Ndlovu – the first ever black African player to sign for and feature for a team in England’s top flight football league – had been thus far the club’s major acquisition. It came as no surprise then when news started making rounds that Bolt would be joining the Chloorkop-based side.
Sundowns fuelled the rumours when they posted an image of the Jamaican icon in their regalia with the caption “football will never be the same”.
The Jamaican athlete has always been very vocal about his wish to trade in his track and field spikes for football boots after his retirement from athletics. It’s also a well-known fact that Bolt has expressed a longing to join Premier League side Manchester United.
Since his retirement in 2017, Bolt has trained with Germen giants Borussia Dortmund and seven-times league Champions Mamelodi Sundowns. Sporting brand Puma has been prolific in getting its brand’s biggest ambassador Bolt these opportunities as they sponsor both footballing clubs.
This may explain Sundowns’ role in participating in the much-anticipated announcement by Bolt on what team he would be signing to on Wednesday.