Maradona dropped as Argentina coach
Buenos Aires: Diego Maradona`s stormy spell as Argentina coach came to an end on Tuesday when soccer chiefs voted unanimously not to renew his contract, the country`s AFA football association said.
Maradona`s future had been in doubt since Argentina`s 4-0 thrashing by Germany in the World Cup quarter-finals in South Africa earlier this month.
"The executive committee... has resolved unanimously not to renew the contract of Diego Armando Maradona as coach of the national team," AFA spokesman Ernesto Cherquis Bialo told a news conference after the meeting of soccer bosses.
Rumours had swirled ahead of the announcement that Maradona would not continue as Argentina`s coach, a position he has held since November 2008, because of an apparent disagreement with the AFA over his coaching staff.
Maradona told local media on Sunday he wanted to stay on as coach, but only if he could keep control over the choice of his assistants.
Maradona was widely seen as one of the world`s best-ever players in his 1980s` heyday but he had a patchy tenure as coach of Argentina, who started the World Cup among the favourites.
Despite the team`s earlier than expected exit from the tournament, Maradona, who was key to Argentina`s second world title in Mexico in 1986, got a hero`s welcome in Buenos Aires.
Thousands of fans had greeted him on his arrival back from South Africa and President Cristina Fernandez urged him to continue at the helm of the national team.
After quitting soccer in the 1990s Maradona struggled with drug addiction, obesity and alcoholism for years but made a comeback as coach of Argentina`s national team in 2008, despite having very little experience as a manager.
Maradona`s departure means Argentina need to find a new coach for the Copa America regional tournament next year.
Local media said former Boca Juniors coach Carlos Bianchi, who led the domestic team to a string of national and continental titles in two stints between 1998 and 2004, was a popular favourite to replace Maradona.
Other names circulating as possible successors include Estudiantes coach Alex Sabella, Independiente`s former coach Americo Gallego, former Argentina coach Marcelo Bielsa and ex-River Plate, Inter Milan and Argentina striker Ramon Diaz.
Cherquis Bialo told reporters no decision had yet been made on a successor for Maradona.
"Today in the meeting there was no discussion of when the selection of a new coach would take place," he said.