April 30 – Argentine legend Diego Maradona has left as coach of Al Fujairah by mutual consent after the club missed out on automatic promotion from the United Arab Emirates’ second division.
Fujairah had been held to a 1-1 draw at home by Khorfakkan in their final First Division fixture of the season, ensuring they finished third in the table and therefore missed out on direct entry into the UAE top flight. The club can still gain promotion through the play-offs against Hatta and were unbeaten under Maradona.
The Argentine had been expected to lead his club into the play-offs, but hours after the draw with Khorfakkan, Al Fujaraih tweeted that the club had parted ways with Maradona. This was confirmed by Maradona’s lawyer Matias Morla.
“After today’s draw and having not achieved the goal of promotion, Diego Maradona will no longer be the Fujairah coach,” tweeted Morla. “The decision was made in mutual agreement and Diego leaves the team in a play-off situation. He wishes the best to the club that opened its doors.”
Baniyas and Kalba finished first and second respectively in the league. Fujairah concluded their league campaign unbeaten, winning 11 of their 22 matches. They eventually finished third on 44 points, two off Kalba.
Last May Maradona had been appointed coach of the club amid much pump and circumstance. The one-year deal tasked Maradona to lead the club back to the local topflight, the Arabian Gulf League. Al Fujairah have been absent from the Arabian Gulf League for two seasons.
It was Maradona’s second managerial spell in the UAE, after spending a year in charge of Al-Wasl. Maradona also coached Argentina at the 2010 World Cup when the South Americans crashed out of the tournament in a 4-0 quarter-final defeat to Germany.
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