Diego Maradona fired from Al Wasl

The Argentinean coach shown the door only a year into his two-year contract
Argentine legend Diego Maradona, coach of Al-Wasl in the United Arab Emirates gives a press conference following training of his team in Dubai, September 20, 2011. Maradona vowed that his team will improve in the next game against Emirates club following a defeat against Al-Jazira last week. (AFP/Getty Images)
By Shane McGinley
Wed 11 Jul 2012 09:51 AM

Dubai’s Al Wasl Football Club on Tuesday fired its star coach Diego Maradona and his entire technical team, only a year into his two year contract at the club, it was announced on Tuesday.

“Following a meeting held by the board of directors of Al Wasl Football Company to evaluate the technical staff of Al Wasl under the leadership of coach Diego Maradona, it was decided to terminate the services of coach Diego Maradona and his technical staff," the club said in a statement.

The Argentinean football legend is currently on holidays in his homeland and a replacement is expected to be announced in the coming weeks.

Last month, the club moved to deny reports Maradona had been sacked following the resignation of the club’s board.

The denial came in a message on the club's Twitter account but doubts remained about the Argentine's future following the mass resignation.

Maradona had suffered a poor season with Al Wasl, finishing eighth in the 12-team league, Associated Press reported.

His problems intensified after Al Wasl let slip a 3-1 first leg advantage in the GCC final against Bahrain's Al Muharrah.

A disappointed Maradona said in the post-match press conference that he would return next season and that he was already looking forward to sitting down with the club and planning the team's future, including several new signings.

Maradona led his country to the 1986 World Cup and enjoyed domestic title successes in Argentina, Italy and Spain but as a coach he has yet to achieve any such highs.

He had brief spells with Mandiyu and Racing Club in his home country in 1994 and 1995 respectively but neither proved fruitful, and although he led Argentina to the World Cup finals in 2010 his side, including Lionel Messi, lost 4-0 to Germany in the quarter-finals.

Maradona's judgment at Al Wasl had been questioned through his decision to select goalkeeper Majid Naser for matches in the Gulf Champions League despite the player being in the middle of a 17-match domestic ban for slapping Al Ahli coach Quique Sanchez Flores after a match between the two sides.

Majid's inclusion in the side that faced Al Muharraq proved disastrous as he was sent off for head-butting an opponent and Al Wasl went on the lose the tie despite holding a 3-1 lead after the first leg in Bahrain.

A club spokesman told Reuters he could not confirm Maradona's whereabouts and whether or not he had been contacted with the news of his sacking.

“There is nothing to be added at the moment," he added.

In May, Maradona was named as a leading contender for the vacant UAE head coaching job by the new president of the UAE Football Association Yousuf Al Serkal.

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