DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Diego Maradona said he's been unable to watch Argentina play since losing the coaching job with the national team after a disappointing performance in the 2010 World Cup.
The Argentina great said Sunday at a news conference in the Persian Gulf emirate that he's happy coaching local club Al Wasl in Dubai, despite acknowledging "I miss my country."
"The national team, I have not been able to watch them. The feeling is stronger than me," he said.
The 50-year-old was hired to coach Al Wasl in May. The club is hoping that Maradona's star power will draw more fans and sponsors to the domestic league. Al Wasl finished sixth in the first-division UAE Pro League last season.
The new Pro League season starts Oct. 15.
Since Maradona began his stint in Dubai last month, Al Wasl has played two exhibition matches against local clubs, winning the first one against Ettihad Kalba 3-1 and losing against Dibba Fujairah 2-1.
"This is football, full of surprises. Today you win a match, tomorrow you lose a match," Maradona said.
The matches were valuable lessons because "every match you play you learn from your mistakes and try to improve."
Maradona has a two-year contract with Al Wasl, his first coaching job since leaving the Argentina post.
Before taking over as coach of Argentina in 2008, he had coached Deportivo Mandiyu in 1994 and Racing Club in 1995. In both cases, he left before his contract was up.