Al Wasl deny reports of coach abandoning ship
Dubai: Al Wasl Club have strongly denied media reports linking their chief coach Diego Maradona with the Bahrain national team.
Ahmad Khalifa, the club's head of media, said in a statement: "These reports are false. Diego Maradona did not make any official statement or comment indicating his interest to coach Bahrain. Maradona has more than once reiterated his desire to continue with Al Wasl and that he has a two-year contract that he respects and wants to see through, and more recently Maradona stated that he wants to stay with Al Wasl for life."
The rumour mill got abuzz while speaking to the press in Bahrain alongside the President of Bahrain's Football Association, Shaikh Ali Bin Khalifa Al Khalifa.
Origin of rumour
According to Bahraini newspaper Al Bilad, Maradona said: "Put my name in your options if you are looking for a new coach for the national team."
"I think that Bahraini football is generally good. Al Riffa [one of Bahrain's leading clubs] are characterised by excellent passing and have very good elements. Through my work with Al Wasl, I can see Gulf football is at a good level but needs more attention."
These comments come just days after Maradona criticised fellow Argentine coach Ricardo Caruso Lombardi for ditching Argentine league club Quilmes for Cuervo. Maradona breached the subject of loyalty after he himself turned down a recent approach to manage Argentine club San Lorenzo.
"I have a job and I could not abandon my players. I am not going to do what Caruso Lombardi did because it would show a lack of respect to everyone at Al Wasl," Maradona told Argentina's La Red Radio.
"What Caruso Lombardi did repulsed me, he wasn't even out of work. In Quilmes, he had a strong side and a group of players that were always loyal. It was not the moment to abandon ship.
"[San Lorenzo] could have hired a coach who was out of work, not one that already had a job."
News of El Diego's snubbing of San Lorenzo and his apparent appeal to Bahrain's football chief, already follows speculation that he will take over the reins of the UAE national team.
"For me, it would be an honour to manage the UAE — but it will all be done in consensus with the UAE FA and the chairman of Al Wasl. If it happens, it happens and if not we will continue to work as we have been working with Al Wasl," Maradona said.