Dubai authorities on Sunday named former Argentine soccer great Diego Maradona Honorary Sports Ambassador, a post in which he will support the development of the sport in the emirate and aid in the search for new athletic talent.
At a press conference at Dubai's Armani Hotel, Maradona, who in early July was fired as coach of the country's Al Wasl soccer club, expressed his happiness at the appointment, which - he said - will allow him to bring the culture of sport to local communities and train new champions.
"The Dubai Sports Council and I have discussed some ideas about what must be done to discover new talent within the next generation of local athletes. This is the best incentive to accept this mission," he said.
The contract enlisting Maradona as sport ambassador was signed by the soccer icon and the general secretary of the Dubai Sports Council, Ahmad al Sherif, with the aim of taking advantage of the Argentine's experience in developing soccer in the emirate and having the former coach participate in national and international conferences.
Al Sherif said that Maradona has "great talent" and can "motivate the new generation of athletes to shine and achieve greater success."
"Maradona's achievements have inspired the world. We're confident that through his work as sports ambassador he will inspire the new generation of players to get to a higher athletic level," Al Sherif emphasized.
The Argentine in 2011 signed a $34 million contract to coach Al Wasl for two seasons but, at the end of the first season, he was fired after the squad finished in eighth place in the 12-team league.
The vice president of the club's administrative council, Mohammed Bin Dojan, said at the time that the decision to fire Maradona was made after a lengthy study and after concluding that better coaches were available for the organization.
On July 12, Maradona told Buenos Aires' Telefe television channel that he was going to travel to Dubai to arrange remaining in the coaching position or to collect the rest of the money coming to him as per his contract with the club, which does not expire until 2013. EFE