Alejandro Sabella firms for Argentina coaching job after Al Jazira admit they no longer expect him at the club

The 2009 Copa Libertadores-winning coach was due in Dubai on Tuesday as the UAE champions' new coach but he failed to board his flight, making him available for the Argentina job

Former Estudiantes coach Alejandro Sabella is firming as the favourite to become the new Argentina boss after he did not board his flight to the UAE where he was expected to take over at Al Jazira.

The 56-year-old, who guided Estudiantes to the 2009 Copa Libertadores title, had been contacted by the Argentine Football Association (AFA) following Sergio Batista's decision to resign as coach of the national team after their dismal 2011 Copa America campaign.

Sabella had previously agreed to join UAE champions Al Jazira for the 2011-12 season and was due to board a flight for Dubai on Tuesday, but did not show up at Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium according to Sport360.

Al Jazira team manager Ayed Mabkhout conceded it was very unlikely Sabella would be coaching the club this season.

“It is still not official, but it doesn’t look like he’s going to come here now,” Mabkhout told Sport360.

“I think 90 per cent he will not be coach of Al Jazira next season.”

He added: “Sabella hasn’t informed the club of the decision and we were expecting him to arrive yesterday because our pre-season training starts today.”

Argentina are due to face Romania in Bucharest on August 10 but AFA spokesman Ernesto Bialo had told BBC Sport on Tuesday there was no rush to appoint a new coach.

"There are no deadlines, there's no rush, no urgency so there will be a process of consideration and study," Bialo said.

Meanwhile, fellow UAE club Al Wasl denied the AFA had approached their coach Diego Maradona about the vacant post.

"Al Wasl is not in a position to comment on the affairs of the Argentinean Football Association,” an Al Wasl spokesperson told Gulf News.

“But we can confirm that Diego Maradona is the head coach of Al Wasl Football Club and will be back in Dubai soon to lead his team's pre-season training in preparation for next season's Pro League competition."