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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 16 November 2018

Diego Maradona says ‘Fujairah is my top-priority project’ and will make beating them ‘an impossible task’

Diego Maradona says nothing will distract him in his quest for success at Fujairah as he was officially introduced as the First Division club's new manager on a one-year contract.
Diego Maradona holds up a Fujairah shirt bearing his name as he was officially introduced to the media as the club's new manager at a press conference in Fujairah on Sunday, May 14, 2017. Satish Kumar / The National
Diego Maradona holds up a Fujairah shirt bearing his name as he was officially introduced to the media as the club's new manager at a press conference in Fujairah on Sunday, May 14, 2017. Satish Kumar / The National

FUJAIRAH // Diego Maradona says nothing will distract him in his quest for success at Fujairah, proclaiming that he will make defeating the club “an impossible task”.

The Argentine great, who captained his country to the 1986 World Cup title, was formally introduced to the media at the Al Diar Siji Hotel on Sunday having signed a one-year contract with the First Division side last week.

It ends a five-year hiatus for Maradona the manager, who was last employed by Dubai’s Al Wasl from May 2011. Then, he was dismissed 14 months into his two-year contract after guiding the team to eighth in the Arabian Gulf League.

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The former Argentina national team manager and long-time Dubai resident said he had several offers of employment, but chose Fujairah, a side in the second tier of UAE football, because of the club’s ambition and his connection to the Emirates.

“Fujairah is my top-priority project,” said Maradona, 56. “I will give it my full-time attention and not think of anything else to distract me. I will focus on the players and the training camps and the requirements of the players. And to resolve all the problems that we could probably face.

“I want to achieve the goals and desires of the people of Fujairah, as well as all our aspirations. There is a great blend here, between the technical and tactical aspects. I have been provided great support to achieve success.

“I would like to say this very strongly and those who think of beating Fujairah will have to beat Maradona. I will make this an impossible task for everyone, because mentally we are very strong. From the first moment we spoke, this house has become my house.”

Maradona’s primary objective will be to guide Fujairah back into the Arabian Gulf League. The east-coast club missed out on an immediate return to the UAE top flight this season, when they finished fourth in the First Division, two places and nine points off promotion.

The former Boca Juniors, Napoli and Barcelona forward said he will place emphasis on integrating Fujairah’s youth players with the first team. Maradona’s contract runs until the conclusion of the 2017/18 campaign, but there is an option of an extension should the relationship prove successful.

“The factor that made me accept the job to coach here is I have missed the stadiums and football, to work personally, hands on, and not just watching it on TV,” Maradona said. “To feel once again how it is to manage a team.

“Everything that happened in the past is history, now there is only Fujairah and I would like to put all emotions and passions, physically and mentally into this project. I received many offers, for example from Kazakhstan and Russia and many other places. But my agent now has stopped and, my only agenda, its name is Fujairah.

“I will work very seriously and hard with Fujairah and we’ll look to create a team and attract players to guarantee us playing at the highest levels. And afterwards we’ll be ready to compete with any other rivals or team. Football does not know fear, but it knows joy and entrainment. And unfortunately I am 56 years old and I’m not able to play anymore.”

jmcauley@thenational.ae

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