x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Al Wasl's Majed Naser urged to reconsider his retirement

Diego Maradona's side are hopeful the goalkeeper will withdraw his threat to retire from the game as they look to appeal his 17-match suspension.

Management at Al Wasl are hoping Majed Nasser will retract his decision to retire from football at the age of 27. Courtesy of Al Ittihad
Management at Al Wasl are hoping Majed Nasser will retract his decision to retire from football at the age of 27. Courtesy of Al Ittihad

Al Wasl are hopeful their UAE national team goalkeeper Majed Naser will withdraw his threat to retire from the game after the Football Association's Disciplinary Committee banned him for 17 matches.

Naser lost his cool and slapped Quique Sanchez Flores, the Al Ahli coach, on the back of his head in the aftermath of his team's 1-0 defeat in the Etisalat Cup semi-final at the Rashid stadium last week.

He then announced he was quitting the game in the Abu Dhabi Televison's Game Over programme at the age of 27, saying he would first like to apologise to everyone involved in the sports industry in the UAE for his action.

The Wasl management has responded in a written statement saying they are surprised at Naser's comments about his decision to retire.

"The Wasl Football Club's management understand his frustration and the feelings he is going through following the 17-match ban," the statement said.

"The disciplinary committee's decision is indeed harsh and could potentially hinder or even end any football player's career and more so a goalkeeper's.

"The Al Wasl Football Club's management confirm that they will do all that is possible to convince Naser to retract his retirement decision.

"He is a valuable national asset not just to Al Wasl but also to UAE football as a whole."

International teammates have also urged Naser to reconsider.

"I think he has made this announcement out of frustration and disappointment for being given a lengthy ban," said Haider Ali, the Al Wahda captain and Naser's teammate in the UAE national team.

"I believe his teammates, officials and fans of his club can persuade him to withdraw his quit notice."

Subait Khater, the Al Jazira midfielder, feels Naser has rushed his decision and should await the outcome of an impending appeal by his club over the suspension.

"I am sure the club management will, if they have not already, speak to him," Khater said. "Even his coach [Diego] Maradona has come to his aid and had openly stated the club will appeal the ban."

Naser expressed his regret to the president of Wasl, Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid, to the vice president, Sheikh Majid bin Mohammed, to the members of the club's board and management, and to colleagues in the team and to all their supporters.

"I admit that my actions were inappropriate and wrong and that I lost control of my nerves but my reaction was due to the provocative gesture made by the Ahli coach towards me during the match," he said.

"I quickly tried to contain the situation and personally to the Ahli coach after the match. He accepted my apology and he also apologised for his gestures."

Naser has also dropped the idea of appealing his ban as not to complicate things and drag the issue on any longer.

"I accept the disciplinary committee's decision but at the same time I personally think that the decision exceeded expectations," he said. It is exaggerated and harsh and is enough to end my football career.

"This decision made me think about my career and to weigh my options and therefore I have taken the decision to retire from football completely.

"I have sent a letter to Wasl club informing them of my decision. I don't want to be a burden on my club and get in their way of success and development.

"I have only seen good things from Al Wasl and they have always supported me in every step I took. They should not pay the price of my suspension. A 17-match ban is a catastrophe for the team and for me personally.

"I thank every person who stood by me and supported me and I hope that I will meet everyone's expectations in the future."

It is not the first time Naser had been given a lengthy ban.

In 2007, he assaulted a linesman during a match against Al Jazira and he was handed a 13-match ban, which was reduced to five following an appeal.

apassela@thenational.ae

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