Football Football

Maradona to coach Palestine ‘nonsense’


MARADONA-REFPALESTINE, October 3- Rumours that illustrious Argentinian football star Diego Maradona was in the running to be the new coach of the Palestine national team are “nonsense”, a Palestinian official said Thursday.

Reports had circulated online, including on news websites, that 53-year-old former World Cup winner Maradona would soon travel to the occupied Palestinian territories to take on the challenge.

“This is total nonsense,” Jibril Rajub, president of the Palestine Football Association, told AFP.

The Palestinian team is looking for a replacement for Jamal Mahmud, who resigned a few weeks ago.

But the PFA wants a Palestinian to be coach, Rajub said, with Palestine Olympic coach Abdel Nasser Barakat tipped to take on the task.

Maradona would not have been new to the region, having coached Al Wasl Football Club in Dubai from 2011 to 2012, when he was fired after a poor season.

The fiery Argentina legend, who helped his team win the 1986 World Cup, has not risen to such heights in his various coaching roles.

The Palestinian national team, recognised by FIFA in 1998 and currently ranked 102nd in the world, has defied critics by qualifying for the 2015 Asian Cup in Australia.

The team has been hampered by Israeli restrictions on its players travelling to and from the occupied West Bank.