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Rediff.com  » Sports » Maradona laughs off inexperience claims

Maradona laughs off inexperience claims

October 30, 2008 10:11 IST

Diego Maradona, expected to be named Argentina coach in the next few days, said he laughed off suggestions he was too inexperienced for the job.

One of the game's greatest players, and also one of its most troubled and volatile, Maradona is expected to get the job despite having had only two short coaching stints in the mid-1990s totalling 23 games.

"People have spoken a lot about experience but I have had 20 years with the Argentina national side," said Maradona, who captained his country to World Cup victory in 1986 but was kicked out of the finals in 1994 after failing a doping test.

"So it makes me laugh when they say I'm inexperienced," added Maradona, who since retiring has fought off drug addiction, alcohol-related liver disease and obesity and at one stage four years ago spent 10 days in intensive care.

"Football hasn't changed," he added, speaking to reporters outside his Buenos Aires home. "I don't think there's anything there that can surprise me."

Maradona added that the presence of World Cup-winning coach Carlos Bilardo as general manager would compensate for any inexperience.

"I have Bilardo at my side and he has as much experience as anyone," Maradona said.

"I think they have given this to me at the right moment," he added when asked if he was now more mature.

Maradona played down comparisons with former Brazil captain Dunga, who was appointed coach of his country's national team after the 2006 World Cup despite having no previous experience.

Dunga, a hard-tackling midfielder, won the Copa America last year but has been fiercely criticised for his team's recent displays.

"I didn't play like Dunga -- he kicked, I didn't," said Maradona.

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