Diego Maradona won crucial support in his bid to become the next Argentina coach on Wednesday when the man charged with finding Alfio Basile's successor threw his weight behind the FIFA World Cup™ winning skipper.

"I'd like Maradona to be the next coach," said Noray Nakis, the president of the Argentina Football Association (AFA) selection commission.

Basile resigned last week after a 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa qualifying defeat to Chile.

Maradona faces competition for the job from Carlos Bianchi, the former coach of Boca Juniors, whom he led to four national league titles, San Lorenzo coach Miguel Angel Russo and Sergio Batista who took the Under-23 squad to Olympic gold in Beijing in August.

Despite his national popularity, Maradona admitted on Tuesday that his chances of taking over from Basile were slim "because Bianchi is in the lead of all the surveys".

However, Nakis said on Wednesday: "During the meeting we had at the federation, neither Bianchi's name nor any other was mentioned."

The name of the new coach is due to be named on 27 October.