BAGHDAD - Iraq plan to sign Brazilian
coach Zico for their 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign, local
football officials said on Thursday.
Zico, speaking to Reuters in Rio de Janeiro, confirmed there
had been an informal contact with him through his brother Edu
who has worked in the Middle East and he said he thought it was
an interesting proposition.
Iraq have qualified for the third Asian round of World Cup
qualifiers, which start on September 2. Iraq are in group A with
Jordan, China and Singapore.
Signing Zico, one of Brazil's greatest players who coached
Japan at the 2006 World Cup finals, would be a huge boost for
Iraq who have struggled since winning the Asian Cup in 2007.
"The association is determined to sign a deal with Zico to
coach Iraq's national team in the upcoming qualifiers for the
World Cup," Kamel Zeghyar, an Iraqi football association member,
Zico said: "There was an initial contact with an
intermediary of the Iraqi [football] federation who worked with
my brother Edu in the Middle East.
"Edu did an excellent job there... and the intermediary
asked us if we were interested in working with the Iraqi
national team," added the 58-year-old.
"I said yes, but was waiting for an official contact with
the Iraqi federation or for him to process a document
authorising [him] to conduct negotiations.
"I think it would be a good opportunity... it could be a job
of preparation for the 2014 Cup here in Brazil. The fact that
we're Brazilians could even help," he said in a telephone
"Iraq has good players, but the big difficulty is that most
of them play abroad," added Zico, whom Zeghyar said was expected
in Iraq on Sunday to attend a league match.
"It will be a good opportunity to present him to Iraqi
spectators, to talk with him directly and to try to finalise all
contractual and technical issues," Zeghyar said.
Zico last year quit as football director of Flamengo after
only four months in the job, saying feuds within the Rio de
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