Poland Under-21 coach Stefan Majewski believes co-hosting UEFA EURO 2012 can help grassroots football in his country take a giant leap forward, encouraging more youngsters to take up the game.
Capped 40 times by Poland, the 55-year-old Majewski played at two FIFA World Cups in the 1980s – including Spain '82 where his team finished third – and he hopes next summer's showpiece can provide some impetus to get back to those glory days.
"The interest is growing," Majewski told UEFA.com. "Take a look at the infrastructure. Beautiful stadiums are being completed and nice stadiums attract supporters. If ordinary supporters come, then families with children follow, so interest in football in Poland is growing and will continue to do so all the way until the European Championship."
The former Legia Warszawa defender, who also played abroad for 1. FC Kaiserslautern, DSC Arminia Bielefeld and Apollon Limassol FC, added: "New licensing requirements are being implemented stating that every top-flight club will have to have some sort of base, with a defined number of training pitches set aside for kids and youth players. That should definitely contribute to the development of Polish football."
Majewski was speaking at the Marek Wielgus Tournament, one of a growing number of events organised for youngsters by the Polish Football Federation (PZPN). "As you can see, it is not that hard to persuade kids to play sport," he said. "If a tournament is organised well, then it attracts a lot of attention and a lot of players, which makes it easy to attract kids to this sort of competition. They'll come, play on the pitches and get a feel for the ball. Then we can also lure them away from bad stuff."
Majewski took charge of the Poland U21 set-up in June. His side lead Group 6 with four points from three games in their bid to qualify for the 2013 UEFA European Under-21 Championship finals in Israel. They claimed a 1-1 draw against Portugal in Rio Maior last night before hosting Albania in Grudziadz next Tuesday.
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