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Metsu not to replace Maradona

Reports that Diego will take an advisory role are false

Gulf News

Dubai: Contrary to reports, Diego Maradona is not about to be given an advisory role at Al Wasl to make way for Bruno Metsu as coach, the club has confirmed.

Metsu, 58, jobless since his dismissal from Qatar’s Al Gharafa in mid-March, was seen in the stands at Al Wasl’s GCC Champions League final defeat to Bahrain’s Al Muharraq last week.

But club officials have stressed the Frenchman’s presence at the game has no bearing on Maradona’s future as coach.

Al Wasl’s board resigned on Thursday making way for a new committee, prompting doubts over Maradona’s future after a disappointing first year in charge.

Al Wasl finished eighth in the league and crashed out of the etisalat and President’s Cup semi- and quarter-finals respectively, also losing the GCC Champions League final 5-4 on penalties, despite a 3-1 first leg lead, thanks to two red cards.

Despite this, Al Wasl chairman Mohammad Bin Fahad told Gulf News on Sunday night following the new board’s first official meeting: “They [media] made a mistake. Maradona is the head coach of Al Wasl club, he is the coach of Al Wasl team, and he continues with complete authority for the programme.

“Maradona is continuing. There is no change in his position. Up to now – and there is no further information [on this matter] – Maradona will be the coach of Al Wasl next season.”

After the Metsu speculation broke on Monday, club officials referred to Bin Fahad’s earlier comments. A spokesman from the club said: “This is false information again; the official line already came from the chairman.

A second source added: “Everything to do with Maradona is false until it has been officially announced by the club. Metsu was at that game, but so were a lot of people. It’s a cup final. The president of the club allowed the board to make their own decision, and they have. Maradona is staying as coach.”

Meanwhile, the Iranian newspaper Tehran Times reported Monday that, if Persepolis manager Mustafa Denizli signs for Turkey’s Besiktas, Metsu would take charge of the Iranian champions with immediate effect.