Diego Maradona goes from managing in the UAE to chairman of Belarus club

Maradona Maradona stepped down as coach of UAE second division club Al-Fujairah last month. (AFP)
Updated 16 May 2018
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Diego Maradona goes from managing in the UAE to chairman of Belarus club

  • World Cup winner signs three-year contract to serve as chairman
  • Dinamo Brest sit eighth in the 16-team Premier Division.

MINSK: Diego Maradona is coming to Belarus as chairman of a small top-flight club with big European ambitions.
The Argentine legend posted a photo on Instagram late Tuesday of what Dinamo Brest said was a three-year contract to serve as chairman of the board.
“Thanks for the trust and for thinking of me,” Maradona wrote in his post.
Dinamo Brest also posted pictures of the 1986 World Cup winner holding up a green and red Belarusian flag while wearing a matching black T-shirt and shorts.
Maradona stepped down as coach of UAE second division club Al-Fujairah last month after failing to secure their promotion.
Dinamo Brest were acquired by new owners three years ago who are intent on breaking the historic dominance of the country’s two big sides: Dinamo Minsk and BATE Borisov.
The 57-year-old will be in charge of the team’s transfer policy and strategic development.
“Will Maradona be able to help Belarusian — particularly Brest — football? I think the answer is obvious,” said club spokeswoman Olga Khizhinkova.
She also insisted that the global star intended to spend most of his time in the small city on Belarus’s southwest border with Poland.
“We are already looking for a place for him to live,” Khizhinkova said.
“We expect that if not the whole time, he is going to spend a substantial portion of his time in Brest.”
Dinamo currently sit eighth in the 16-team Premier Division.
The club were formed in 1960 and spent their first 32 years in the Soviet Union’s second and third divisions.
Dinamo were automatically promoted to top-flight Belarusian football when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.
They finished third in the inaugural Belarusian season but have never qualified for Europe.
The team’s new owners have told Belarusian media that they intended to acquire new talent and invest significant resources in the club this year.
Khizhinkova said Maradona will come to Brest after completing a Russia World Cup assignment for Venezuelan television.


Ahmed Barman out to toast Al-Ain success in FIFA Club World Cup

Updated 11 December 2018
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Ahmed Barman out to toast Al-Ain success in FIFA Club World Cup

  • Tournament gets under way on Wednesday when Al-Ain take on Team Wellington at home.
  • UAE midfielder sure his side can cause a few shocks.

LONDON: While he is only too aware of the quality opposition they have to face, Al-Ain midfielder Ahmed Barman is backing “The Boss” to scare a few teams in the FIFA Club World Cup.
The tournament gets under way when the UAE outfit face Team Wellington on their home ground in the opener today. Last year saw fellow Arabian Gulf League side Al-Jazira reach the semifinal where they gave Real Madrid a huge fright before narrowly losing 2-1. And inspired by that march to the last four, Barman is looking for Al-Ain to go one better and become the first Emirati side to make the final.
“The FIFA Club World Cup is a global competition coveted by every club,” Barman said. “Al-Ahli, Al-Jazira and Al-Wahda participated in this tournament before and did their part, putting the UAE on the world map. We at Al-Ain hope to reach the semi-final, as Al-Jazira did, or do even better.”
Before any tournament it is only natural to dream of glory and lifting the trophy in front of adoring fans. But the midfielder is not getting too cocky, revealing that despite having home advantage Al-Ain are taking absolutely nothing for granted, starting with Wednesday’s clash against the Kiwis.
“There’s no doubt that we’re aiming to reach the final and face a giant like Real Madrid, but first we have to focus on our opening match against Team Wellington,” the 24-year-old said.
“We need to win to progress from this round and play the subsequent games until we reach the final against Real Madrid and show a standard of play the UAE can be proud of.”
Barman is not anticipating an easy opener.
“Team Wellington are a very good team with considerable ability. They won their local league and the OFC Champions League, which proves they’re powerful.
“So, all our focus is on this opening match. We’re annualizing our opponents to understand their capabilities as we prepare to perform well on the pitch and get positive result.”
The UAE champions did not have the best preparation for their stab at Club World Cup glory, losing 5-2 to Al-Wasl in the UAE President’s Cup at the weekend.
That result, while clearly not ideal, has not bothered the side’s coach.
“We cannot win every game, what is gone is gone, it’s full concentration on the match ahead,” Zoran Mamic said.
“There are no rules that Al-Ain cannot lose games, that’s why I don’t make any drama.”
But while Barman was keen to invoke the memory of Al-Jazira’s march to the last four, his boss was less so, telling his team to focus on the match at hand before getting ahead of themselves.
“We are not here to talk about last year, just as we are not here to talk about the future,” the Croatian said. “We are here to represent the club in the best possible way. We focus on the match at hand and everything will take care of itself.”
Of today’s opponents he added: “We have watched all their games, we know their strengths and where they are not so strong. They are particularly good offensively, they play with fast wingers and a striker who is a good scorer, they play a system that is unusual to us because no teams in the Emirates play with three in the last line. If we do our job we will (have) a good match.”