Al Wasl: Maradona to remain as coach next season
Al Wasl said Diego Maradona will remain as coach next season
despite the loss in the GCC Champions League final that caused the
entire board to resign and had raised doubts about the Argentine
Wasl Club chairman Mohammad Ahmad bin Fahad dismissed reports
that Maradona had resigned as a ”mistake.” He said Maradona’s
future had not been discussed at the board meeting Sunday.
”Maradona is the head coach of Al Wasl and has the complete
authority for the program,” Bin Fahad said. “He will continue with
us. There is no change in his position.”
The Al Wasl board resigned Thursday without giving an
explanation. It was led by Marwan bin Bayat, who was instrumental
in signing Maradona to a two-year deal in May. The resignation
sparked reports in the local media on Sunday that Maradona has been
Maradona, currently on vacation in Argentina, endured a dismal
season with Al Wasl with the club finishing eighth out of 12
He had hoped to salvage the season by winning the GCC final. Al
Wasl won the first leg 3-1 at Bahrain’s Al Muharrah and fans packed
Al Wasl stadium for the return leg expecting the club to win its
first trophy of the season.
Team President Sheik Ahmed bin Rashid Al Maktoum – a brother of
the Dubai ruler – even turned up for the first time this season to
join the expected celebration.
But the team lost the June 10 match on penalties in a contest
marred by two Al Wasl players being sent off for head-butting
Maradona said in the post-match news conference that he would
return next season and was looking forward to planning the team’s
future by making several new signings. He has not spoken to the
media since the loss.
His departure would not come as a total surprise, especially in
the United Arab Emirates pro league where foreign coaches rarely
last a season.
Maradona has been a huge hit with Al Wasl fans and almost
single-handedly put United Arab Emirates football on the map, but
has yet to demonstrate he can coach successfully.
Al Wasl has often looked sluggish and struggled to score for
most of the season. The final also showed that Maradona has little
control over several of his ill-disciplined players, despite his
iconic status as one of the greatest ever footballers.
Maradona captained Argentina to victory in the 1986 World Cup in
Mexico. He retired in 1997.
Maradona has also sparred repeatedly with management in recent
months over what he says have been broken promises to provide him
with quality players. He has threatened to quit several times
unless the club provided him with more money to buy players. After
his latest outburst in April, he backtracked and said he would work
with the players the club gave him and fulfill the remainder of his
Maradona joined Al Wasl following his firing as the Argentina
national team coach. Under Maradona, Argentina’s results were
mixed, including two of its worst losses – a 6-1 rout by Bolivia in
World Cup qualifying and a 4-0 quarterfinal loss to Germany during
the tournament in South Africa.
Before taking over as coach of Argentina in 2008, he coached
Argentine first-division sides Deportivo Mandiyu in 1994 and Racing
Club in 1995. In both cases, he left before his contract was