Caracas: Diego Maradona was
mobbed by dozens of enthusiastic fans when he arrived in
Venezuela to visit President Hugo Chavez and attend a series
of events aimed at promoting sporting activities.
Maradona told state media he was eager to meet with
Chavez - a friend who shares his love for sports and leftist
political ideals - as fans waved Venezuelan and Argentine
flags yesterday at Simon Bolivar International Airport - named
after Venezuela`s 19th-century independence hero.
"I`m in the land of Simon Bolivar to meet with President
Hugo Chavez," said Maradona, according to a government
statement. "Together, we will participate in various
activities to promote Venezuelan sports."
He did not elaborate, but Venezuela`s Sports Ministry
announced the Argentine football coach would travel with
Chavez to the central state of Cojedes today to attend a
graduation ceremony for university athletes. He will also meet
with local sports trainers to share ideas, it said.
Maradona has espoused leftist views in the past and
boasted of his friendships with Chavez and former Cuban leader