10 lip 2012

Depressing press conferece overshadows Fornalik's appointment

As said yesterday, Waldemar Fornalik was appointed new manager of Poland national team, leaving behind three years of great job he did at Ruch Chorzow. He was given eleven votes during four-hours-long debate of PZPN board, a vast majority that meant there was no need of second poll. Jerzy Engel, who was already in the job ten years ago, gained only three votes. 

But it was not about Fornalik or other candidates, as we have witnessed a staggering show of how far behind in thinking domestic football thought is. Antoni Piechniczek was supposed to explain why Fornalik was the best candidate and he had fairly easy job - though failed miserably, not answering questions but once again proving every critic of the federation right.

Antoni Piechniczek is unquestionably a legend in Polish football, someone who influenced the game in the seventies and eighties with successes as club and national team coach. He won the third place in the world in 1982, then moved to northern Africa, and even after unsuccessful spell back with Poland in 1996, he remains close to every PZPN board, being responsible for how coaching in the country looks like. 

And it is not looking any good, as Poland have only over 1200 coaches with UEFA A and B categories, as even the most basic courses are quite expensive, long and simply boring, too general. This is, however, an issue for years unsolved and, as today's press conference showed, not even regarded a problem by the board.

The board of which Antoni Piechniczek is vice-president, by the way.

He came up with the mission to learn his audience, voice his concerns, opinions and explain - not the appointment, but the situation of football in Poland in general. It ended in farce as Piechniczek's rant was not only pointless but clueless as well, leaving thousands in front of TVs puzzled of what he was saying. By overshadowing Fornalik, he, and sitting next to him the president, Grzegorz Lato - unmoved by the critique and smiling contemptuously - showed complete ignorance about the football. It almost looked like the sport belong only to them, when Piechniczek stated that "the choice was made and will be no other, there is no need to question it now."

Antoni Piechniczek went on a rant that took a long journey back in the time, to the times of the peak of his professional work, when he indeed was the figure respected and unquestioned. Quite different to the opinion he has now.

"The ten-years-long epoch of success was fantastic. You know what it was down to? This happened because of Polish coaches. And also because the authorities took care of the sport. Our country was divided into 49 provinces, and each wanted to have a decent football team. To show up on the football map."

"We all got used to the opinion that, as we say, transformation placed on the shoulder heavy industry, steel industry has no longer played its role, and the segment hit the most was the state-owned farms. For me, though, it was the professional sport that has suffered the most, because from one day to another, everyone landed on the streets."

This is, sadly, only the small part, small example of how far he went off the main topic of the press conference. He explained everything - literally everything - on the examples of his past successes and carrying his arguments on the shoulders of sadly gone legend, Kazimierz Górski. "When the taxi driver asked me who I wanted to pick, I said that personal favorite is not among us anymore" - he shared as well.

The reaction was negative, obviously, as people laughed, cursed and almost cried from the frustration at people who are in charge of the game in Poland. The press conference was probably the best example of what should be so obvious - so many times PZPN was hiding behind UEFA's back when the authorities came up with an intervention, but when it is down to put a blame on the real problems in football, deficit of well educated coaches, idea, plan for the national teams and coaching in the country, the finger was pointed always in other direction. Always not PZPN's fault, as they "were and are doing a lot" - indefinite term heard each time. Their isolated stance, their theory of common enemy - the fans, the public, the media - shows the naked, bare truth.

There is nothing behind their words and actions, only history.

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