Maradona in the desert

Updated: November 28, 2017

In 2010, when the world cup was hosted by South Africa to the noise of the abominable vuvuzela, a certain Diego Armando Maradona was the head coach for the Argentinean squad. They managed to reach the quarter final where Argentina were trashed 4-0 by Germany, which marked an end to the divine hand as head honcho for the national team. But where is he now?

If top bookmakers are asked where to place a bet on Maradona and what he will do next, chances are they will not have odds at all for such a query. There is no betting advice to be given when it comes to the paths Maradona is choosing in life. Upon his departure from the national side he was soon offered a contract to coach Al-Wasl, which he signed.

Yes, we know; what on earth is Al- Wasl? As some of you probably have guessed already it is a club in one of the Emirates and it was quite a lucrative contract we dare guess. That spell lasted for about a year and then, Maradona fell off the radar a bit. He was probably at home smoking his Cuban cigars, following his beloved Boca Junior from the stands and doing what Maradona seems to do best at this point in life where he is only a few years away from turning 60. Falling off the radar, not participating in any of the FIFA spectacles which Pelé always instantly says yes to like a child says yes to sugar.

But he has turned up now and once again it is more than a tad enigmatic, the choice he has made. As coach for Al-Fujairah which are based in the Emirate of Fujairah, a club currently on top of the second division in the United Arab Emirates league system.

Five years absence from football coaching seems to have been enough but it is fair to guess that once more a lot of money is involved, even though Maradona doesn’t strike us as an excessive spender. There have been very few pictures of him – if any – in front of a luxurious car once he retired as a football player. No pictures of Liberace-like mansions and he is usually dressed up as the bloke next door regardless of him walking down the street or greeting some dignity.

Truth be told, when reading up on his spell in the Emirates, Maradona is not only there to coach some mediocre side and cash in, there is a deeper purpose to it which can be read between the lines. He is closely involved with the UAE FA and seems to act as some sort of consultant. He is very open about his thoughts on former FIFA president Sepp Blatter and a few of the other involved in the bribery scandal which forced the lot to resign, he is in touch with Marco van Basten and Zvonimir Boban where they discuss which direction football on an international level should be taking.

Maybe Maradona is contemplating a football revolution, with the UAE as backing sponsors. One of his greatest idols was Che Guevara, after all.

/ Zvonko,