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Fornalik succeeds Smuda at Poland helm

Published: Tuesday 10 July 2012, 15.50CET
Waldemar Fornalik described it as "a big challenge and a big responsibility" to have been appointed as Franciszek Smuda's successor as Poland coach for 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying.
by Piotr Kozminski
from Warsaw
Fornalik succeeds Smuda at Poland helm
Waldemar Fornalik has been in charge of Ruch Chorzów since 2009 ©Getty Images

Published: Tuesday 10 July 2012, 15.50CET

Fornalik succeeds Smuda at Poland helm

Waldemar Fornalik described it as "a big challenge and a big responsibility" to have been appointed as Franciszek Smuda's successor as Poland coach for 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying.

The Polish Football Federation (PZPN) has confirmed the appointment of Ruch Chorzów coach Waldemar Fornalik as Franciszek Smuda's successor at the national team helm.

Smuda's contract was not extended beyond UEFA EURO 2012, when the co-hosts collected just two points and failed to progress from Group A. Fornalik has been appointed until the end of 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying having last season guided Ruch Chorzów to second in the Polish First Division.

"It was a democratic choice," said PZPN president Grzegorz Lato. "Eleven members of our board voted for him, three for another candidate, Jerzy Engel, and none for the last one, Jacek Zieliński. If we qualify for the World Cup in Brazil, this contract will be extended until the end of the tournament, 30 July."

Fornalik said: "It is a big challenge and a big responsibility as I know how big Poland fans' expectations are. Of course it is a big honour to guide the national team. I knew the PZPN would decide today, but I did not change my duties because of that. When they were discussing and voting, I was in my garden cutting the grass! As far as the national team is concerned, the door is open for every player."

Ruch Chorzów finished just a point behind champions WKS Śląsk Wroclaw in the 2011/12 Ekstraklasa. Fornalik will be released by the club imminently to assume his new post. "Two years ago the players of the Polish league chose him as the best Ekstraklasa coach," added Lato. "That means he is well appreciated. I think he is one of the most talented Polish coaches and I hope he will do great job for the national team."

Fornalik was a one-club man as a player, scoring four goals in 233 appearances for Ruch. He started his coaching career at Górnik Zabrze and can list other Polish sides such as Amica Wronki and RTS Widzew Łódź among his other former employers. He took charge of Ruch in 2009.

His first duty with his country will be a friendly against Estonia in Tallinn on 15 August. Poland are in World Cup qualifying Group H and begin their campaign in Montenegro on 7 September. Fellow EURO hosts Ukraine, England, Moldova and San Marino make up the remainder of their section.

Last updated: 10/07/12 16.51CET

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