Iraq says it's not looking to hire Maradona
Buenos Aires, Dec 24 (IANS/EFE):
Iraq’s soccer federation has denied any interest in hiring former Argentine great Diego Maradona to coach its national team.
“There’s no negotiation between the Iraqi soccer federation and Diego Maradona, and we don’t have any intention of hiring him,” the federation’s deputy director, Abdul-Khaliq Masoud, told Argentina’s official Telam news agency.
An Argentine sports executive said Thursday in Buenos Aires that Maradona was the leading candidate to become the next coach of Iraq’s national soccer team.
“They called us from Iraq asking for a coach. We offered Diego and they were delighted,” Hernan Tofoni of World Eleven, a firm that organizes friendly matches for the Argentine national team, told Buenos Aires daily Clarin.
“Both they and Diego are very interested,” Tofoni said. “That means: it’s something very probable.”
“Initially, they (the Iraqis) offered us a contract until June 2013, though we are trying to extend the term,” Tofoni said.
As a player, Maradona led Argentina to victory in the 1986 World Cup, but his 2008-10 tenure as coach of the national squad was rocky.
Maradona was fired earlier this year as coach of Dubai’s Al Wasl club, but has continued to serve as “sporting ambassador” for the United Arab Emirates.