Valdano warns Argentina over Maradona job

October 21, 2008

BUENOS AIRES, Oct 21 (Reuters) - Former Argentina forward Jorge Valdano has warned his country not to appoint Diego Maradona as national team coach, saying the 1986 World Cup captain's lack of experience would make it a risky move.

Valdano also said he regretted Alfio Basile's resignation as Argentina coach last Thursday following the previous night's World Cup qualifying defeat in Chile.

Maradona, who said in a television interview on Friday he would be delighted to accept the Argentina job, has emerged as an outside candidate to replace Basile.

"Diego has no experience, apart from sporadic and short interventions," Valdano, Maradona's team mate in the 1986 World Cup side, told the TyC cable sports channel.

Maradona had two brief stints as coach of Deportivo Mandiyu and then Racing Club in the mid-1990s.

"I have the maximum respect for him but he hasn't done any background work, which is a basic necessity for coaches who aspire to the highest level.

"It appears risky to me. It's difficult to land on your feet as coach of the national team."

Carlos Bianchi, Sergio Batista and Miguel Angel Russo remain the favourites to take over as manager while Carlos Bilardo, coach in 1986 and 1990, has cropped up as a rank outsider.

Valdano added: "It's sad that the collective failure of the national team has been concentrated into the hands of the coach (Basile).

"The coach symbolises more than the players but these have a collective responsibility."

The new coach's biggest dilemma will be whether to persist with controversial playmaker Juan Roman Riquelme after his recent inconsistent performances.

"Riquelme always needs to be one of the main players," said Valdano. "It's impossible to have him in the team without giving him all the responsibility."