Maradona on hand to offer his advice to Pumas

Diego Maradona gets a warm welcome from the New Zealand women's sevens team.  Pic courtesy of Wayne Marsters
Diego Maradona gets a warm welcome from the New Zealand women's sevens team. Pic courtesy of Wayne Marsters

With one prominent Olympian, as well as the great and good of the rugby world, en route to the UAE this weekend’s Dubai Rugby Sevens will not be short of stardust.

The most famous visitor of all, though, chose to make his entrance while watching a low-key training match at The Sevens ground yesterday.

Given his unexceptional coaching record in the round-ball code, Argentina’s sevens team might have thought they were doing just fine without any input from Diego Maradona, thank you very much.

Not that they had much choice in the matter, however. The former Al Wasl and Argentina manager made an impromptu visit to Los Pumas’ warm-up match against Canada.

While the maintenance staff at the ground were putting the final touches to preparations ahead of the big weekend, Maradona sauntered up and made himself at home on the sidelines with a cup of Costa Coffee.

The former Barcelona, Boca Juniors and Napoli playmaker, who still resides in the UAE because of his role as an ambassador for Dubai Sports Council, offered some advice to the Argentine players from his vantage point on the other side of the whitewash.

And – the merits of his coaching notwithstanding – he was certainly welcome by both sides, as well as the New Zealand women’s team, who were at the ground for a training session of their own.

“People were getting the last bits of preparation done for the sevens, and then Maradona turns up with a cup of coffee and starts giving them [Argentina’s players] instructions,” said Wayne Marsters, the UAE rugby manager.

“I wish I knew what he was saying to them.”

Published: November 28, 2012 04:00 AM

SHARE