Cabanas keen to play again soon

MEXICO CITY - Paraguay forward Salvador Cabanas, speaking publicly for the first time since he was shot in the head in January, feels almost ready to play football again.

"I'm already kicking a ball, I'm nearly ready," Cabanas, who has the bullet lodged in his brain, told Televisa in an interview broadcast on Friday night.

"I still want to play, really, (and) I am happy to be alive and to have recovered and that very soon we'll be back on the (football) field," he said.

Cabanas, wearing a black cap, spoke slowly, with a fixed stare and a lost look in his eyes during the interview at a rehabilitation centre in Mexico City where he has been since leaving hospital.

The 29-year-old was shot in the early hours of January 25 in a Mexico City bar, according to some reports during an argument over his form and that of his Mexican club America. Police are on the trail of a suspect.

His surgeon said when Cabanas was moved to the clinic that his neurological recovery could take several years.

At the end of the interview, Cabanas, a key player in the Paraguay team that qualified for this year's World Cup in South Africa, was shown playing table tennis.

"Football gives you a lot of things and I still want to play. Right now, I'd love to (leave the clinic), I'd go home, see my two kids and play a while with them," he said.

Cabanas sent "a big greeting to all of Paraguay and Paraguayan fans. In a short time we'll be back on the pitch. A big greeting to Mexican fans."

At the World Cup finals in South Africa starting on June 11, Paraguay will meet holders Italy, Slovakia and New Zealand in group F.

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