Wednesday 21 September 2016, 13:49

Borisov's leading role

He can delve into foreign worlds and imagine himself in diverse leading roles. Perhaps he even occasionally dreams about experiencing for himself a story like the seemingly impossible ones often told in the movies. And yet, he is currently playing the central character in his own blockbuster.

The 34-year-old is representing Azerbaijan at the FIFA Futsal World Cup Colombia 2016, where he fills the opposition with fear – just like Al Pacino's character Michael Corleone did in Borisov's favourite film The Godfather. The eastern Europeans may be Futsal World Cup debutants, but they still reached the knockout rounds in impressive fashion.

They did so thanks to a comfortable victory over African champions Morocco, a narrow loss to European champions Spain and a draw with Asian champions Iran. Those three games in seven days have not left much time for television.

"I haven't been able to watch any films here yet," Azerbaijan's No10 told "The only thing we watch on TV are the World Cup matches in order to observe the opposition." That includes Thailand, who they will face in the next round.

Unhappy substituteThe striker will once again have to give everything to succeed in that game, just as his side did in their last Group F fixture against Iran. Azerbaijan secured a draw, and second place in the standings, thanks to a compact defensive showing coupled with rapid transitions. While that should have been reason enough to celebrate, Borisov was not entirely satisfied during the encounter.

He repeatedly cut a frustrated and unhappy figure on the bench. "I'd have loved to play more and help the team, so that's why I wasn't too happy at being substituted off," he said. "But that's normal. It's a team sport and you have to accept the coach's decision."

He is clearly not a fan of merely spectating. It is therefore no surprise that Borisov, who has a three-year-old daughter, is not content to experience the world through films alone. Alongside futsal and Hollywood productions, travelling is his other passion, making it all the more appropriate that he is currently able to combine two of the three. In 2002, eager to try something new, Borisov switched to futsal because "it was becoming really popular in Azerbaijan at the time". Consequently, he is now spending several weeks in South America.

Support from home"Unfortunately I haven't had time to look around much yet," Borisov said. "Hopefully we can do something as a team in the next few days. The hotel and stadium are really cool, but I want to see more," he laughed. Another reason, therefore, to beat the team that hosted the last Futsal World Cup.

And in order to ensure everything goes to plan, the KMF Ekonomac player – the only member of the Azerbaijan squad to play abroad – was given a small good luck charm by his wife. Thanks to that, and the team's performances so far, he is full of confidence going into the last 16. Asked how he assesses his side's chances, Borisov initially just grinned before giving a diplomatic answer: "They're very good technically, but I think it'll be an evenly balanced match."

The Godfather went on to become a trilogy, and Borisov enjoyed each of the films. Now it is up to him to determine if his own story has a gratifying sequel.