A-League star chooses to play finals footy with the Mariners over attending his own mother’s funeral

A-League star chooses to play finals footy with the Mariners over attending his own mother’s funeral

Brian Kaltak is so determined to drive Central Coast to a historic treble he missed his late mother’s funeral.

Kaltak’s mother, Lucy, died in March this year, meaning she missed the chance to watch her son and the Mariners win the A-League Men premiership and the AFC Cup.

When he learned of his mother’s death, Kaltak – a Vanuatu international – debated with his father, Timothy, whether he should return to his island village of Erakor.

But Kaltak’s father was quick to remind the centre back of his late mother’s wishes: keep chasing what you’ve always dreamed of.

“The saddest thing is mum had to pass away and didn’t see any of it,” Kaltak told AAP.

Central Coast Mariners star Brian Kaltak missed his mother’s funeral to part of a potentially historic treble with his A-League club

The Mariners have already won the A-League Men Premiership Plate and the AFC Cup

The Mariners have already won the A-League Men Premiership Plate and the AFC Cup

“But before she passed she said, ‘All the things you want to achieve this season, you will achieve them’.

“I didn’t go back (for her funeral), it was a decision I made with dad and mum – before she passed away – it’s what they wanted from the start, for me to enjoy my football.

“They had the funeral without me … I followed (along online) on the day they took mum to the cemetery and I will go home after the season is over.

“Mum and dad have always been proud of me, they bought me my first pair of boots and knew I could do something special.

“They never stopped me doing my thing and I think I’m reaping the rewards now.”

Kaltak, 30, has been a rock at the heart of the Mariners’ defence along their way to two trophies this year and he wants to add one more.

Central Coast Mariners' defenders Dan Hall (L) and Brian Kaltak pose with their medals after winning the AFC Cup final

Central Coast Mariners’ defenders Dan Hall (L) and Brian Kaltak pose with their medals after winning the AFC Cup final

Kaltak said that his mother would have wanted him to keep competing for the historic treble

Kaltak said that his mother would have wanted him to keep competing for the historic treble

His side host Sydney FC in Saturday’s A-League Men second-leg semi-final – the Central Coast lead 2-1 in the tie – and can book a place in a grand final also in Gosford with victory.

“Two years in professional football career and it’s been crazy, lots of people play their entire life and win nothing,” said Kaltak, who only signed his first professional deal 18 months ago.

“I think everything is paying off for me and my commitment.”

Kaltak’s parents insisted he kept chasing on-field success because they knew how long he had waited for it after bouncing around the semi-professional leagues of Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific.

And his rise to prominence over the last 18 months has created a mutual love between the Mariners and his homeland.

“Everyone is crazy following every game we play back in Vanuatu,” Kaltak said.

“The club helps send stuff back to my village and my team.

“Even the (Mariners) fans are telling me they are going on holiday to Vanuatu and showing me photos, if you go to Vanuatu now you see Mariners shirts everywhere.”

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