Franciszek Smuda has been appointed coach of Poland, replacing Dutchman Leo Beenhakker who was dismissed following a 3-0 loss to Slovenia in FIFA World Cup qualifying last month.
Smuda's contract will run until the end of UEFA EURO 2012™ which takes place in Poland and Ukraine. "I feel great," said Smuda, whose coaching achievements include winning Polish titles with Widzew Łódź and Wisła Kraków. "It has been my dream to work with the Polish national team." Poland finished second from bottom of Group 3 in qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup and will not play another competitive game until summer 2012, but Smuda is confident that will not affect his preparations for the tournament. "Every match for the national team is very important, even a friendly, so I'm sure there will be 100 per cent motivation for me and the players," he said.
Smuda, 61, brings a raft of experience to the job having taken up coaching in 1983 when he retired from playing. He started his coaching career in the lower leagues in Germany before spells in Turkey with Altay GK and Konyaspor. He took his first coaching job in Poland at KS Stal Mielec, impressing in saving them from relegation from the top flight between 1993 and 1995. He then joined Widzew Łódź, winning Polish titles in 1996 and 1997. He added another two years later with Wisła and has since coached Legia Warszawa, Lech Poznań and, from this summer, Zagłębie Lubin. His side are bottom of the Ekstraklasa, but Smuda is expected to step down in order to fully focus on the national team job, which starts with a friendly against Romania on 14 November.
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