Bani Yas reward AGL promotion winner Goran Tufegdzic with the sack

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Coach Goran Tufegdzic with the First Division League trophy won with Bani Yas (Twitter/@BaniYasClub).

Runaway First Division League champions Bani Yas have rewarded Serbian coach Goran Tufegdzic with the sack less than a week after their coronation.

Tufegdzic, 46, took the reins when a switch to Al Shabab had to be aborted at the last-minute because of May 2017’s shock merger with Al Ahli and Dubai CSC. At his post in Abu Dhabi, the ex-Kuwait supremo oversaw a dominant campaign in which automatic promotion back to the Arabian Gulf League at the first time of asking was earned with games to spare.

Despite his effectiveness at Bani Yas Stadium, the 2010 Gulf Cup winner with Kuwait is left looking for a new employer.

“Bani Yas announces the termination of the relationship with the first-team trainer Mr Goran and his technical staff,” the Sky Blues tweeted. “This follows a full season in which Bani Yas qualified back to the Arabian Gulf League as First Division League champions.

“The football club provides many thanks to the trainer and his crew for all they have done and we wish them more success.

“In the coming days, the football club will announce the name of the new technical director of the first team after studying all the proposed names with the Technical Committee in order to reach the best choice for the future interests of the club.”

Tufegdzic had previously narrowly failed in his mid-season mission to maintain yo-yo club Ittihad Kalba’s top-flight status during 2016/17.

Promoted sides dumping their coach pre-season is a regular occurrence in the UAE.

But Ajman’s continued faith in Egypt’s Ayman Elramady was rewarded with safety for 2017/18.

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Diego Maradona and assistant Luis Islas yet to be convinced about shock Fujairah return

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Diego Maradona and Luis Islas at Fujairah training (Twitter/@Fuj_FC).

Fujairah are struggling to convince Argentina legend Diego Maradona and assistant Luis Islas to make a return to the Arabian Gulf League-hopefuls, more than 24 hours after they prematurely announced the pair had agreed fresh one-year contracts.

The volatile Wolves chose on Friday to part ways with the World Cup 1986 winners, who’d led them to an unprecedented undefeated season. This surprise development came within hours of a 1-1 draw with 10-man Khor Fakkan that caused the First Division League-outfit to drop out of the automatic spots in the final round and into this month’s promotion play-offs.

This rash decision was, seemingly, met with immediate regret and a shock extension was announced on Monday night via the club’s official Twitter account. Yet, further confusion immediately followed when the FIFA Player of the Century’s lawyer – Matias Morla – stated “that to this day, Diego Maradona did not renew his contract”.

Complex negotiations have continued between the parties. But the Wolves are yet to make a convincing case for the duo to agree comebacks in time for the vital double header on May 9 and 13 against Hatta – the top-flight’s bottom-placed team.

Reverberations followed across the globe last May when Maradona agreed a one-year deal to return to the dugout on the UAE’s east coast. He was previously dismissed by Al Wasl in July 2012 midway through a two-year arrangement after a trophyless campaign.

The ex-Boca Juniors, Barcelona and Napoli icon’s ambitious new employers had just finished a distant fourth during their opening campaign back in the second division, suffering eight losses.

A positive transformation swiftly followed at Fujairah Stadium under the incoming regime.

Beyond a top-three finish in their division and 10 more points gained than 2016/17, a creditable 4-2 loss was recorded last month against runaway AGL champions Al Ain in the President’s Cup quarter-finals.

Maradona – who commuted more than 350 kilometres daily from Palm Jumeirah – was only hamstrung by a profligate attack. A total of 11 draws were registered, with penalties being missed in their last four fixtures.

This allowed Ittihad Kalba to usurp them on the final day for second place and join champions Bani Yas as guaranteed entrants into the 2018/19 top fight.

Fujairah’s fit of pique has left them scrambling for options ahead of their upcoming two-legged decider.

An approach to Dibba Al Fujairiah’s Brazilian tactician Paulo Comelli was rejected during the weekend.

They have also undertaken discussion with ex-Czech Republic midfielder Ivan Hasek. The 54-year-old saved Fujairah from relegation in 2014/15, but was sacked in March 2016 with the team bound for the FDL.

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Diego Maradona's lawyer denies Argentina legend has re-joined Fujairah as coach

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Diego Maradona's Fujairah side failed to achieve automatic promotion.

Argentina icon Diego Maradona’s unpredictable coaching career took several more twists on Monday night when his lawyer rejected an official announcement from Fujairah that they had made a U-turn and rehired his client on a one-year deal.

Maradona, 57, departed from the Wolves on Friday by “mutual agreement” after failing to secure automatic entry to the Arabian Gulf League. A disappointing 1-1 draw with 10-man Khor Fakkan had seen the club drop into the promotion play-offs during the final round of First Division League matches.

The east-coast outfit then announced a dumbfounding reconciliation at 19:30 GST on Monday that meant the ex-Boca Juniors, Barcelona and Napoli legend would take charge of the May 9 and 13 play-off clashes with Hatta, the top-flight’s bottom-placed side, and beyond.

But legal representative Matias Morla swiftly declared this update to be premature.

He tweeted: “In front of different versions that are circulating, I want to clarify that to this day, Diego Maradona did not renew his contract with the club Fujairah.”

Maradona’s UAE-based representatives confirmed to Sport360° that “up and down” talks were under way. They had no knowledge about a total agreement.

This further contradicted the earlier tweet sent by Fujairah.

It read: “Under the direction of the president of Fujairah, Diego Maradona returns to lead the Wolves in the play-offs and renews the contract for another year.”

Fujairah have lined up their former coach Ivan Hasek as an alternative option. This process follows a failure to poach Paulo Comelli from Dibba Al Fujairah.

Maradona had joined the ambitious Wolves on a one-year deal last May. News of his premature exit reverberated across the globe at the weekend.

At the Fujairah Stadium outfit, the joint FIFA Player of the Century avoided defeat throughout the regular 2017/18 campaign. In April, a creditable 4-2 loss had also been registered in the President’s Cup quarter-finals against runaway AGL champions Al Ain.

But his profligate charges was hamstrung by 11 second-division draws. The latest looked to have proved fatal as it saw Fujairah demoted to third on the final day at the expense of Ittihad Kalba, who joined champions Bani Yas back in the top flight.

Maradona’s previous posting was unceremoniously cut short by Al Wasl in July 2012, halfway through a two-year deal.

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