Maradona in talks to coach Iraq team

Buenos Aires: Diego Maradona is the leading candidate to become the next coach of Iraq`s national soccer team, an Argentine sports executive said Thursday.

"They called us from Iraq asking for a coach, we offered Diego and they were delighted," Hernan Toffoni 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," Toffoni said. "That means: it`s something very probable."

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.

"Initially, they (the Iraqis) offered us a contract until June 2013, though we are trying to extend the term," Toffoni said.

The political panorama in Iraq does not pose any problems, the executive said, adding that any contract would include "special clauses taking into account the sensitive situation of the country".

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.

If a deal materializes, Maradona`s debut as the Iraq national coach would come in a Feb 6 friendly with Indonesia in Baghdad.