Dubai’s Al Wasl FC has dismissed the team’s manager, Diego Maradona, in a surprise announcement made while the former Argentina captain and coach was on holiday at home, it was confirmed Wednesday.
“The club has decided to dispense with the services of Maradona and the entire technical team, after only one season,” a club official said.
The official, who requested anonymity, added that “the decision was taken at a meeting of the club’s board… after a full study and assessment of a whole year that Maradona and his team spent in charge of the team”.
The 51-year-old former playing great, who captained Argentina to the 1986 World Cup title and was national team coach from 2008 to 2010, learnt of his sack in Argentina, where he was spending his first annual holiday since being appointed by al-Wasl in May 2011.
In his last public statement before leaving Dubai for Argentina, Maradona said he was “determined to stay with Al Wasl until summer next year,” when his two-year contract was due to expire.
Al Wasl’s move came less than a month after a decision by the club’s new board to retain Maradona until the end of his contract.
The team’s first, and as it turns out only, season under Maradona has been disappointing, with no prizes coming the club’s way.
Al Wasl made an early departure from the UAE President’s Cup, and only came in eighth in the Emirates League.
The club performed better in the Gulf Champions’ League, but lost the final on penalties to Bahrain’s Al Muharraq.
The team’s lacklustre season brought Maradona under fire from fans.
Some fans wrote on the club’s website that the Argentine coach was a “failed coach” and that “he will destroy the club and his poor performance will wreck the team”.
Maradona had joined Al-Wasl almost a year after failing to agree to an extension to his two-year contract as coach of the Argentine national team.
Under his command, Argentina made it to the 2010 World Cup quarter-finals, but then crashed out with a 4-0 defeat by Germany.