Argentine legend Maradona says he turned down offer to coach Venezuela national team

Diego Maradona said that since he has a commitment with Gimnasia, he cannot take the job as a coach of Venezuela national football team

The Argentine great Diego Maradona, who led the national team to clinch 1986 FIFA World Cup victory said he has rejected an offer from Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to coach the country's national men's football team. One of the football legends, the 59-year-old Maradona who is currently managing Argentinian Superliga side Gimnasia, met Maduro in Caracas on Tuesday, January 21 less than a month after Rafael Dudamel quit as Venezuela's head coach,

As reported by Xinhua news agency, "Maduro offered me the national team (job) but I told him that I have a commitment with Gimnasia," Maradona told media before his team's home Superliga clash with Velez Sarsfield on Friday, January 24.

"I couldn't let the lads and the people down. There was no possibility that I would leave here," he added.

Diego Maradona
Diego Maradona Reuters

Venezuela football team

Venezuela has been without a head coach since January 3, when Dudamel resigned to take charge of Brazilian Serie A club Atletico Mineiro.

Maradona, who almost single-handedly guided Argentina to the 1986 World Cup title, has a contract with Gimnasia until May. The 59-year-old has said that his main priority is to help the club avoid relegation to Argentinian football's second tier.

Multiple news reports in Argentina cited Maradona's absence from Gimnasia's first training sessions of the year as evidence that he might be appointed Venezuela's head coach.

The Venezuelan Football Federation is hoping to name a new manager before South America's 2022 World Cup qualifiers to begin in March.

(With inputs from IANS)