Maradona to continue as Al Wasl coach

New chairman dismisses reports Maradona had resigned

Al Wasl has denied reports that Argentine football great Diego Maradona has been sacked as coach of the club.

"There is no truth in the rumours that Maradona has resigned. He will stay as coach for another season. He will continue as coach of Al Wasl for the 2012-13 season," Ismael Rashed, a board member of Al Wasl club, told Emirates 24|7.

There had been intense speculation in local media about the future of Maradona after the board of Al Wasl resigned following their humiliating defeat in the GCC Champions League final.

But Rashid laid to rest the rumours by saying that the new Chairman of Al Wasl Club Mohammad Ahmad bin Fahad wanted Maradona to continue as coach.

"Maradona is still working as coach and will take charge of the squad during a training camp to be held after Ramadan," he said.

Al Wasl confirmed at a press conference on Sunday that the board had resigned on Thursday. The board was led by Marwan bin Bayat, who signed Maradona to a two-year deal in May.

The resignation sparked speculation in local media that Maradona has been sacked. But the club on its Twitter feed said he is still the coach.

Ahmad bin Fahad also dismissed reports that Maradona had resigned as a "mistake."

"Maradona is the head coach of Al Wasl and has the complete authority for the programme," Bin Fahad said. "He will continue with us. There is no change in his position."

He said Maradona's future had not been discussed at the board meeting Sunday.

Skynews Arabia had reported earlier on Monday that the World Cup winner has been removed as coach of Dubai club Al Wasl but will remain as mentor of the squad.

Quoting unnamed sources, it said Maradona will no longer be in-charge of training the team particularly after their chaotic display in the decisive leg of the GCC Champions League final against Muharraq.

He is expected to continue in an advisory role and is also being considered for the vacant UAE job, it reported.

Former UAE national coach Bruno Metsu is the front runner to be appointed as coach of Al Wasl.

Al Wasl had hoped to salvage the season by winning the GCC final but lost on penalties to Bahrain's Al Muharraq in a match marred by two of its players getting sent off.

Maradona, on vacation in his native Argentina, endured a dismal season with Al Wasl, finishing eighth in the 12-team league.

Al Wasl won the first leg 3-1 at Bahrain and fans packed Al Wasl's Zabeel stadium for the return leg expecting the club to win its first trophy 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.

His altercations with rival managers was another reason for his dismissal as coach, according to Skynews Arabia.

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 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 contract.

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 up.

Maradona captained Argentina to victory in the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. He retired in 1997.



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