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James Lawton: Maradona still possesses an aura

Whatever reservations we have about the wisdom of Argentina's appointment of Diego Maradona as coach there can be no doubt about his enduring magnetism.

It was evident enough here yesterday when he arrived to inspect Argentina's World Cup headquarters in Pretoria.

There was pandemonium at the airport as he emerged from the two-month ban imposed by FIFA for his ‘lewd language' to journalists who questioned not only whether he was he the right man to lead the nation but whether he was occupying anybody's idea of a right mind.

Without scruple or discipline, he may be a contemptible figure in so many eyes but, in a country where so many people are obliged to lead difficult, if not hopeless lives, his survival through the years of glory and shame that have followed his emergence from conditions as harsh as any to be found in the meanest township gives him a strange but compelling appeal.

A man occupied by demons he may be but that doesn't altar the fact that, in a country which adores football, he will never cease to be seen as one of its most miraculous exponents.

Belfast Telegraph