Maradona has to prove Fujairah switch isn't pure pantomine

Fujairah move raises plenty of question about Maradona and the club

Matt Monaghan
by Matt Monaghan
14th May 2017

article:14th May 2017

Leader of the pack: Diego Maradona is unveiled by Fujairah (Fujairah).
Leader of the pack: Diego Maradona is unveiled by Fujairah (Fujairah).

The setting said more than words about Diego Maradona, arguably football’s greatest player, as a coach.

Sunday’s unveiling as Fujairah boss attracted the media en masse, which is typical for a character made up of equal parts inspiration and controversy. But the end of a five-year hiatus from the technical area came at a second-division outfit, in a city far away from the bright lights of football’s beating European heart and in a nondescript hotel’s conference room.

The challenge now for club and tactician is to repeal the sense of pantomime about the whole exercise throughout 2017/18.

Once the startling burst of photographer’s flashes which always greet Argentina’s venerated World Cup 1986 winner subsided, he audibly requested “un cafe” – a coffee –  then got down to the business of delivering the unique soundbites lapped up by global media.

The obvious issue is whether this facet was most important when deciding Maradona was best qualified to take Fujairah back up to the Arabian Gulf League.

No other action in the club’s 49-year history has generated coverage in publications such as L’Equipe, BBC Sport and Gazzetta dello Sport.

This is especially pertinent when you consider that he was last sacked by Al Wasl after a trophlyess 2011/12 and exited Lionel Messi’s La Albiceleste because of a brutal 4-0 chasing by Germany in World Cup 2010’s quarter-finals.

The man immortalised in graffiti on the walls of Naples went on to say Fujairah is “my top-priority project” and he wanted “the glory of their grandfather and father” to be seen by Benjamin Aguero and Diego Fernando Maradona.

Tellingly, no details were proffered about if he has developed his coaching skills while away.

The hype will subside as dogged pre-season work is undertaken. Maradona and his new employers have plenty to prove, starting from now.