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Maradona bids farewell to UAE football

Former Al Wasl, Fujairah boss joins Belarusian side Dynamo Brest after seven-year stay in emirates

Image Credit: Fujairah Club twitter
Diego Maradona during his coaching days at Fujairah. The star has joined Dynamo Brest as chairman on a three-year deal.
Gulf News

Dubai: Former Fujairah coach Diego Maradona’s seven-year stay in UAE comes to an end after he joined Belarusian side Dynamo Brest as chairman on a three-year deal on Wednesday.

The 57-year-old Argentine was sacked by Fujairah last month after failing to secure automatic promotion to the Arabian Gulf League (AGL) after a decisive home draw against Khor Fakkan on the last day of the season.

Fujairah tried to lure him back after a change of heart with the Wolves still able to qualify via the play-offs, but Maradona’s agent Matias Morla demanded four times his salary to continue.

The Wolves ended up qualifying for the AGL anyway with a 3-1 aggregate win over Hatta in the play-offs under Emirati interim coach Abdullah Misfer on Sunday.

Maradona had only been in charge of Fujairah for the 2017/18 season but had remained in the UAE after a similarly disappointing year’s stay with Al Wasl back in 2011/12, where he was sacked midway through a two-year contract before going on to become an ambassador for Dubai Sports Council.

Even after Misfer’s efforts to promote Fujairah, it was still speculated that Maradona might return to lead the club in the top flight next season.

Instead, the 1986 World Cup winner has joined Brest, who finished fourth in the Belarusian Premier League last season, just missing out on the Europa League qualifying slots. They did, however, lift the Belarusian Cup and Super Cup last season.

“Diego will be engaged in issues of strategic development, interacting with all its structural units, including the academy.” a tweet on Dynamo Brest’s official twitter account read.

“He will begin his role after the World Cup in Russia. A press conference will be held at Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi with Diego Maradona and representatives of the club, with the date to be announced shortly.”

Maradona told Argentine daily newspaper Clarin: “I have just signed the best contract of my life thanks to my friend and lawyer Matias Morla.

“I’m happy. I will make a competitive team. I thank the people of Belarus for thinking of me. I’ll leave everything as I did every time I stepped onto a football field.”

Morla added: “It is a new challenge that he will face as he has always done in life. The idea is for the team to stop being half-board and starting fighting in Europe. The project is very ambitious and lives up to the story of Diego Maradona.”

The contract length is actually two years with an option to extend by another year. Maradona’s friendship with Russian president Vladimir Putin was said to have helped ease the deal.

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