The nerves, pressure and sheer weight of taking penalty kicks is enough to put off even the most talented of footballers.
But it didn’t deter Melbourne City FC fan Daniel Marantelli, who mastered the art of the penalty kick to take home $1,500 in the CoCo Joy Kick for Cash competition during half-time of Saturday’s match against Western Sydney Wanderers.
Strolling out onto the pitch in front of thousands of fans at AAMI Park, Daniel successfully converted one of his three spot-kicks on the way to claiming his prize.
With the presence of close friends only increasing the pressure, Daniel overcame a wave of nerves, dubious footwear and some last minute practice in order to step up to the penalty spot.
“About two hours before halftime the nerves we’re really kicking in, and I’d brought all my mates along who were absolutely delighted at seeing how anxious I was,” Daniel said. “I hadn’t practiced at all except for a few spot kicks about 15 minutes before actual kick off and I was really hoping I didn’t slip over with my Converse shoes!”
“I nervously looked up at the crowd and saw a few thousand people all looking down on me, and decided right then and there I wasn’t looking back into the crowd. I looked towards the ball, took a few deep breaths, and strolled in to take the kick.”
But when it came down to crunch time, Daniel – with close friend Sarisha by his side – displayed nerves of steel to hit the challenging target.
“The first kick hit the plastic and the top spin literally made it roll upwards and into the middle hole,” he said. “I was totally overjoyed at the moment and so was Sarisha, we both hugged like we’d won the World Cup, and I felt like a tremendous weight had been lifted from my shoulders!”
“It was a tremendous experience and I had a whole lot of fun. I’d like to thank CoCo Joy and Melbourne City FC for a great experience and one I’ll remember for a long time.”