Brazilian defender Filipe Luís Kasmirski is excited to be returning to his roots as RC Deportivo La Coruña visit KKS Lech Poznań in the UEFA Cup.
The 23-year-old is making his first trip to Poland for Thursday's Group H match but already knows what to expect. "Even though my family left the country many years ago, in 1891, Polish culture and traditions remain a big part of my family life," he told uefa.com. "My grandfather Ignácio was born in Brazil but speaks better Polish than Portuguese.
"Unfortunately I have forgotten most of the Polish words I was taught as a boy, but many members of my family still speak or understand Polish. This is because they live in the Massaranduba area of Santa Catarina state which is known for Brazilians with Polish roots. There are around 4,000 families in the region with Polish names and mine are one of them."
Kasmirski is not a surname many people in the old country would recognise, and with good reason. "My family is really Kaźmierski, but when they came to Brazil the official wrote Kasmirski and it stuck," said Filipe, who joined Deportivo in 2006 from Real Madrid CF's reserves. "I am sure I have family in Poland and it would be wonderful to find them.
"I looked through genealogy websites but gave up when I saw about 200 families with the name Kaźmierski," he added. "But since then, some things have changed. Me, my father and uncles are working on our family tree and already know that the Polish part of the family were from the town of Kalisz. Maybe I will find relatives there."
While delighted to be visiting his ancestral home, Filipe is serious about the task facing Deportivo, for whom a win would suffice to qualify for the Round of 32 with a game to spare. "We are concerned about the cold weather," noted the former Figueirense FC full-back, who was once on loan at AFC Ajax. "Spanish teams don't like wintry conditions and Lech look a good team. However, we haven't come here to roll over."
Taking three points back to La Coruna would represent a job well done for the Galicians, while Filipe will be scouting for souvenirs on the way home. "I am planning to buy gifts for my family in Brazil," he said. "Most have never had the chance to see the country of our ancestors so I feel I have to bring them something typically Polish."
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