Maradona speculation ends as Hakeem Shakir is appointed Iraq coach

The country's football association has announced that the interim boss has been handed the reins on a permanent basis, silencing rumours surrounding the Argentina icon
Iraq have appointed Hakeem Shakir as the new head coach of the national team, bringing to an end speculation linking Diego Maradona with the role. revealed earlier this month that the Argentina legend was keen on taking over the side for their bid to reach World Cup 2014, after Zico had resigned from the post in November.

However, it was announced on the AFC website on Friday that Iraq had appointed interim boss Shakir on a permanent basis, after he impressed in guiding his side to the final of the AFC Under-19 championships earlier this year.

Maradona, who has been working as a consultant to UAE side Al-Wasl after previously coaching the team, had been in competition with former England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson for the role with the Middle East nation, as exclusively revealed last week.

Shakir's first test as full-time boss will be in the Gulf Cup in Bahrain, which begins next week.