BUENOS AIRES: Thousands of fans on Sunday welcomed Diego Maradona as the new coach of Argentinian Primera Division side Gimnasia. The 58-year-old former striker was cheered on by some 24,000 fans of the La Plata side as he was officially presented, according to local media. The Argentinian football legend and 1986 World Cup winner had not coached in his home country for 24 years. Maradona, who has long suffered from health problems, had stepped down from his job as coach of second division Mexican club Dorados de Sinaloa for health reasons in June. He was brought onto the home ground in La Plata, a Buenos Aires neighbourhood, on a golf cart after undergoing knee surgery.
The team is currently last in Argentina’s top division after only collecting one point from five matches. Maradona’s appointment at Dorados in September had been a surprise, despite his inglorious coaching history since leaving the national team post following the 2010 World Cup. He also coached second division Emirati side Fujairah. The former Barcelona and Napoli forward is perhaps best known for guiding his country to victory at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. — Agencies