x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Olaroiu dispute costs Maradona

Football Association fines Argentine ahead of Al Wahda clash.

Diego Maradona has been punished after his run-in with Cosmin Olaroiu, the Al Ain coach.
Diego Maradona has been punished after his run-in with Cosmin Olaroiu, the Al Ain coach.

Diego Maradona, one day after saying he would like to coach the UAE national team, was fined US$2,450 (Dh9,000) by the Football Association for verbally abusing a rival coach.

At a news conference before Wasl's visit to Al Wahda on Friday night, Maradona was asked if he would be interested in the vacant job with the national team.

"If I am offered the job, yes, I will accept it with pleasure," he said. "However, I have a commitment to my club and I want to fulfil their ambitions. And that would be my priority."

The FA, which relieved Srecko Katanec of his duties at the helm of the national team in September, had no comment on the coaching job.

"Maradona was only answering a question and he has made his point," a spokesman said.

The FA's disciplinary committee, however, issued a ruling that Maradona had stepped over the line in his dispute with Al Ain coach Cosmin Olaroiu last month.

Maradona had complained that Al Ain celebrated a winning goal in an unprofessional manner and he called Olaroiu rude and impolite.

Tonight, Maradona faces a more immediate challenge of trying to win three points against a side Wasl defeated 3-0 in the Etisalat Cup on September 30.

"We have a few injuries to address but travel well prepared for this game," he said. "We have played Wahda before and beat them in the Etisalat Cup. But this is a different game. We are aware they are a strong side."

Wasl are sixth in the Pro League, one point behind Wahda, after conceding an injury time goal in a 2-2 draw with Al Nasr.

"In that match our team played well, and that was an excellent performance, particularly in the second half," Maradona said. "I hope they will play a similar game, and if they do, I believe we have a very good chance of winning this match."

Wahda also return after a draw, after getting two second half goals to escape with a 2-2 result against Baniyas. "It showed the real character of the team and we certainly can take those positives forward," said Josef Hickersberger, the Wahda coach. "We are a lot better than we started the season."

Wahda will be without Mutaz Abdulla, the first choice goalkeeper, who is serving a one-match ban for a red card against Baniyas, along with Eisa Ahmed, the defender, who left the pitch after aggravating his toe injury in the same game.


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