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By ESPN Staff

Maradona takes over as Argentina coach

BUENOS AIRES, November 4 (National Team) - The Argentinian Football Association have confirmed Diego Maradona as the new head coach of the national team.

The appointment was ratified by the AFA board at a meeting in Buenos Aires on Tuesday.

The 48-year-old replaces Alfio Basile, who stepped down from the post for personal reasons on October 16.

It has been widely reported that Maradona will sign a contract until the end of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, assuming the team qualify.

Maradona's first game at the helm will be against Scotland at Glasgow's Hampden Park on November 19.

AFA president Julio Grondona has also appointed Carlos Bilardo as the technical secretary of the national teams.

Bilardo was Argentina coach when Maradona skippered the side to World Cup glory in 1986, and will work closely with his former player in the new set-up.

"Being the coach of the national team coach and being alongside Carlos is an honour for me," said Maradona.

"I will do my best to succeed. We will work every day to make Argentina have a better national team day by day. I thank Julio, my family and my daughters."

Maradona becomes Argentina coach despite the fact he has little coaching experience, having been in charge of Deportivo Mandiyu for two months in 1994 and Racing Club for four months in 1995.

The appointment of the experienced Bilardo, therefore, is likely to be crucial to how well Maradona performs in his new role.

Argentina are in desperate need of an upturn in form, having won just one of their last seven World Cup qualifiers to lie third in the South American Zone.


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