DUBAI — Al-Wasl said Diego Maradona would remain as coach next season despite the loss in the GCC Champions League that caused the entire board to resign and had raised doubts about the Argentine great’s future.
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 Sunday that Maradona has been sacked.
Maradona, currently on vacation in Argentina, endured a dismal season with Al-Wasl with the club finishing eighth out of 12 teams.
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 Sheikh 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 opposing players.
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.
Maradona has been a huge hit with Al-Wasl fans and almost single-handedly put UAE football on the map, but has yet to demonstrate he can coach successfully. — AP