Tim Cahill no longer has to answer to the shoe.Well before the fame, fortune and those goal celebrations that left corner flags fearing for their safety, the Weet-Bix kid had to answer to his mother, Sisifo. And a boot that was deadlier than his own.”If I play bad, [Mum] still tells me why,” Cahill told The Sun-Herald.”It reminds me of when I was a little kid. Normally it was with the shoe, telling me I didn’t play well.”Now I just get on the phone because I’m not [living] close to her. It’s easier – I don’t get any shoes thrown at me.”The shoe is now on the other foot. Cahill is the man. Lucas Neill may be the captain and Harry Kewell may be the poster boy, but Cahill will be the Socceroo everyone turns to in South Africa when the back of the net must be found.Which makes it all the more remarkable that, as a young tyke running out for the Balmain Police Boys Club, Mum had to physically drag him onto the pitch. Yet even when he started running out there of his own volition, few rated him. The little bloke from Sydney’s south-west was considered too little. State and representative selectors snubbed him.”I didn’t have to prove anyone wrong,” Cahill insisted.”The people I wanted to prove right were my parents. It justifies the amount of sacrifices they made in taking me to football.”Football boots, petrol – even getting out a loan to get me over [to England].”I learnt at a good age that I could be around a family where all that mattered was a barbecue, a football or a rugby ball.”The expense of that was very little, but the reality was that we couldn’t really afford much more.”Cahill can afford considerably more now. BRW magazine has him in its top 10 Australian sports money earners, estimating he rakes in just under $4.6 million a year. His family may have struggled to afford a football or to put petrol in the car to get him to training. But these days he could practically buy the A-League with the change in his Lamborghini ashtray. But it’s other values – family ones – that mean the most.”I’m very fortunate to this day that exactly the same things happen,” he said. ”People might say that you do it in a big house and you do it with all of these nice cars, but I’m not doing it for myself. I’m doing it with my family and I’m sharing it with them.”If you want proof, look no further than his left arm. It’s adorned with an intricate tattoo detailing his Samoan family heritage. Cahill decided to finally get it inked after the death of his grandmother.”My grandmother is my life,” Cahill said. ”She taught my mum and sisters and everyone how to be and passed that down to us.”It’s the respect and values she brought to the family.”She held everyone together and she was the leader. Even back home in Samoa she adopted kids and helped kids, worked with the Samoan community.”She was someone very special and highly regarded in the country.”She was always making me go to Samoa at the end of the season regardless of my footballing commitments, making sure I went back there and helped out.”She said to never forget where I come from, to help the young kids in Samoa.”She didn’t say to get the tattoo, but I knew deep down inside it would have been one of the proudest things in her life. She knows that I hate needles and that I’m a wuss.”Cahill grew up in Australia to an English father, Tim Cahill snr, but his mother made sure he grew up ”the Samoan way”.”It’s the main reason why I am so humble to this day,” Cahill said.”I still never forget to say please and thank you. I never forget to open the door for someone or get up to give them a seat.”Respect is the biggest value that anyone can have and, being a footballer, it’s helped me in every step of the way.”There have been numerous occasions when Cahill has considered tossing it all in. Such as the time he suffered a serious foot injury – to the fifth metatarsal – for the third time. Or during the fallout from unsubstantiated accusations of misbehaviour after a rare night out in Kings Cross. Or that post-goal celebration when he made the handcuff gesture to support older brother Sean, who was doing time for grievous bodily harm.”Of course, there have been times [I wanted to quit],” Cahill said.”You have to weigh up options. You say things like that, but you have to think about the people you are letting down by stopping playing football.”’You have to weigh up the situations. But if there’s something coming my way that it’s so important, then I’d quit football. But it would have to be pretty dramatic.”As long as my family doesn’t get affected from it, I’ll be playing for a very long time.”Which means more goal celebrations. No matter what the situation is in South Africa, even when the Socceroos look as if they couldn’t hit a barn door, it’s likely Cahill will find his way onto the scorer’s sheet. The fact that it could come via the aerial route is even more astounding.”He is five foot eight [170 centimetres] and probably scores more headers than any player in the world,” said Rale Rasic, the first coach to guide Australia to the World Cup.”Where he comes from, how he does it, I don’t think he knows either.”This is his World Cup. This is the World Cup for Tim Cahill.”Thanks to friend and former Socceroos teammate Archie Thompson, the only thing more spectacular than a Cahill goal will be the celebration that follows.”Archie is the man, he is one of the most spontaneous characters I’ve ever met,” Cahill said.”He had a baby boy named Axel and I had a baby boy named Kyah and at the time he did a celebration, a kung-fu one.”I thought it was brilliant. I messed with the idea, the boxing and a few other bits.”We were talking on the bench and he says, ‘Try it, do something.”’It came from that and it’s never stopped. Archie always claims that he trademarked it and he wants it back in jest, but he’s someone I admire a lot.”So can we expect something special should he score in South Africa?”It all depends on the circumstances,” he said. ”The World Cup is a big stage. I think there could be something special.”
Nanjing Night Net