Polish Football Association president Zbigniew Boniek surprised no one when he announced his choice for the next manager of Poland’s national team. Adam Nawałka’s name had surfaced the most during the discussions about who would lead the team during the next qualifying campaign, especially after Mr Boniek made it clear that Waldemar Fornalik’s replacement would be a Polish coach.
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“I’m sure we made the right decision,” said Mr Boniek when announcing his choice. “Mr Nawałka’s job will be to qualify for the 2016 European championships to be held in France.”
It won’t be Mr Nawałka’s first time working with the national team. In 2007-2008, he was one of the assistants to then-manager Leo Beenhakker. During that time, the Polish team qualified for the 2008 European championship.
Mr Nawałka was a promising midfielder in his youth, but his professional career was marred by injuries, meaning he was never able to achieve his full potential. Despite his difficulties, Mr Nawałka played for Poland’s national team more than 30 times, including during the 1978 World Cup in Argentina.
Since 2010, Mr Nawałka has managed top-tier club Górnik Zabrze. His best result with the team was when they placed fifth in the league table last season. However, this season Górnik Zabrze is faring considerably better, sitting atop the table along with Legia Warszawa.
The coaches accompanying Mr Nawałka on the national team will include his current co-workers from Zabrze: Bogdan Zając will be his assistant and Jarosław Tkocz will be responsible for working with the goalkeepers.
Mr Nawałka’s first game in his new role will come on November 15 against Slovakia in Wrocław. Four days later he will lead Poland’s national team against Ireland in Poznań. Both games will be friendlies. The European championship campaign will start after next year’s World Cup tournament in Brazil.
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