x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Arrival of Maradona at Al Wasl delayed

The Argentine is now not expected to arrive in Dubai until late next month, meaning he will not see his new team live in action.

It will be weeks before Diego Maradona is on the training field with his Al Wasl players.
It will be weeks before Diego Maradona is on the training field with his Al Wasl players.

Diego Maradona is not expected to arrive in Dubai to begin his reign as coach of Al Wasl until the end of June, a club official has said.

The Argentine had been expected to arrive in the UAE at the start of June and officially unveiled as the Dubai club's new manager but it looks like Wasl fans will have to wait a bit longer to see the man the club have hired to replace Sergio Farias.

"We don't have a date for his arrival yet, but he is expected around in the second half of June," club spokesman said. "The current season is still going on and once we are through with this, we can sit down with Maradona and discuss plans for the next year."

Maradona's delayed arrival means is will not see Wasl in action - their final game, with Sharjah, is on June 9 - and could hamper the club's recruitment plans for next season. It will also reduce the amount of time the former coach of Argentina has to work with his players ahead of the new season, which starts in September.

Wasl, however, are unlikely to release the exact date Maradona arrives in the country in a bid to avoid a media circus at Dubai International airport, preferring instead to just announce the date of his first press conference. That would appear to be a tough ask for the club's media department and PR relations firm given the profile of arguably the greatest player of all time.

arizvi@thenational.ae