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Wisła face up to life without Kosowski

Published: Wednesday 16 January 2008, 19.29CET
They may be unbeaten and ten points clear in Poland but the winter break has been far from comfortable for Wisła Kraków after Kamil Kosowski decided to move.
by Maciej Iwanski
from Warsaw

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Published: Wednesday 16 January 2008, 19.29CET

Wisła face up to life without Kosowski

They may be unbeaten and ten points clear in Poland but the winter break has been far from comfortable for Wisła Kraków after Kamil Kosowski decided to move.

The winter break and the opening of the transfer window usually bring fresh hope and new faces, but for runaway Ekstraklasa leaders Wisła Kraków the month has been marked by a protracted divorce – ending in the departure of Polish international Kamil Kosowski.

Returning hero
Kosowski was an unknown when he arrived at Wisła from Górnik Zabrze in 1999, but under Henryk Kasperczak (now coach of Senegal) he blossomed and by the time he left four years later for 1. FC Kaiserslautern he was considered one of Poland's best wingers. He departed with three championship medals to embellish that reputation yet failed to settle in Germany, having loan spells at Southampton FC and AC Chievo Verona before rejoining Wisła during the summer to some fanfare.

Lucky charm
Having finished eighth in 2006/07, the Krakow outfit might have expected a transitional season, but graced by the likes of Kosowski, coach Maciej Skorża has had them playing attractive, attacking football. Just past the halfway stage, they enjoy a ten-point lead over nearest rivals Legia Warszawa having already scored more goals than they did all last term. Good-luck charm Kosowski played his part until it came to renegotiating a new contract, despite Skorża saying the 30-year-old was "very important to my plans".

'That's life'
After lengthy discussions it became clear he would be going, which was confirmed on 10 January when the squad set off for a training camp in Spain without Kosowski. "I'm quitting the club as I could not agree a new deal," confirmed the player, who reached his half-century of international caps against Serbia in a November UEFA EURO 2008™ qualifier. "I've done a lot for this club but am leaving and that is sad. I'm sad, very sad, but that's life."

Napoleon mourned
The unrest may give hope to Wisła's championship rivals, yet for relegation-threatened ŁKS Łódź salvation looks to have come from elsewhere after they were bought by Lithuanian businessman Algimantas Breikstas, who also owns FC Vilnius in his homeland. Even his arrival was almost overshadowed by bad news after former ŁKS and Poland player Leszek 'Napoleon' Jezierski died aged 79. Zbigniew Boniek, who played under him at KS Widzew Łódź, mourned "one of the best coaches I ever had".

Last updated: 16/01/08 16.30CET

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