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Report: Diego Maradona nearing deal to manage Palestinian National Team

Diego Maradona Holds a Press Conference In Rome

ROME, ITALY - FEBRUARY 14: Diego Maradona speaks to the media about his ongoing legal dispute with the Italian Tax authorities during a press conference at the European Union office on February 14, 2014 in Rome, Italy. The former footballer is accused of tax evasion and is said to owe almost 40 million Euros in unpaid tax on undeclaired earnings. Maradona denies these claims. (Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images)

Paolo Bruno

Next stop on the Diego Maradona coaching train: Palestine.

That’s the word coming from The Times of Israel, who claim the Argentine legend is currently in advanced talks to manage the Palestinian National Team.

If confirmed as manager, Maradona’s first task will be to lead The Redeemers through the AFC Asian Cup, a 16-team tournament set to take place in Australia come January. This marks the first time Palestine will be participating in the tournament where they have been placed into Group D alongside Japan, Jordan and Iraq.

Maradona pledged his support for the Palestinian cause back in 2012, saying: “I am the number one fan of the Palestinian people, I respect them and sympathize with them. I promised the Palestinian football team to visit Palestine. I support this nation’s cause, since I grew up on struggle and standing against injustice.”

Last month Maradona furthered those efforts when he took part in a charity match in Rome to promote peace and inter-religious cooperation. On the managerial front Maradona has enjoyed nowhere near the success he had as a player, spending a solitary season with Al Wasl of the United Arab Emirates after an unimpressive stint with Argentina National Team from 2008 to 2010.

Palestine is currently ranked 102 in the FIFA world rankings.

Follow @mprindi