Diego Maradona to kick off Fujairah training this week

Argentine superstar is understood to favour all-Argentine set-up as he puts together backroom staff at UAE First Division club.

Diego Maradona was announced as Fujairah manager in May. Satish Kumar / The National
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Diego Maradona will begin his work in earnest as Fujairah manager on Thursday, when the former World Cup winner arrives in the emirate to kick-start pre-season.

Maradona, 56, was announced in May as a surprise appointment by the First Division club, as they seek promotion back to the Arabian Gulf League (AGL) for the 2018/19 season. Maradona agreed to a one-year contract, although an option exists to extend should the move prove a success.

The former Al Wasl manager, who has not managed since his ill-fated 14 months in charge of the Dubai club, will oversee training for the first time with his new side on Saturday. It is thought that he and Fujairah will settle on his backroom staff this week, with Maradona understood to favour an all-Argentine set-up.

On the playing side, Fujairah have yet to confirm their four foreign players for the upcoming campaign. At present, Lebanese forward Hassan Maatouk has made way, while the future of Patrick Eze is currently uncertain. The Nigerian striker spent last season on loan at Saudi Arabia’s Al Qadisiyah.

Maradona is in consultation with the Fujairah board regarding the make-up of his squad, who are expected to head for a training camp in the Netherlands at the end of this month. The former forward has been outside the country for much of this summer, a spell that included receiving honorary citizenship last week in Naples. Maradona led Napoli to two Serie A titles and the Uefa Cup during his seven years there from 1984. He then travelled to Switzerland to take part in an exhibition match on Friday for Gianni Infantino, the Fifa president.

Last season, Fujairah finished fourth in the First Division to miss out on a return to the UAE top flight. They last competed in the AGL two seasons ago, coming home 13th to guarantee relegation.