Iraq says it`s not looking to hire Maradona

Buenos Aires: 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.