Boniek Unveiled As New Poland Manager
14th July 2013
In a surprise move, Polish Football Association president Zbigniew Boniek has stood down as president and become manager of the national team. This will be Boniek's second stint in the role after a brief 5 month period in 2002.
With many pundits suggesting Jacek Magiera would get the gig, Boniek's appointment has been a surprise and even more so considering he was president of the association that was in charge of the appointment! But in a brief radio interview this morning, the 57 year old assured fans bias was not a factor.
"When, as a group the FA sat down and decided to dismiss Waldemar- which wasn't just my decision, it was a group decision-, I put my hand up as one of the candidates. Now by that stage I was informed that I would not be on the committee to select the new manager, which I fully understood. I was of course still president of the association, but as soon as they selected me the move was made- with my consent- to remove me as the president."
Zbigniew Boniek is one of the greatest Polish footballers of all time, etching his name in history when he scored a hat trick against Belgium at the 1982 World Cup, in which the Poles finished 3rd. The former Lodz, Juventus and Roma star also has experience as a manager, with a speight of Italian clubs in the 90s and a brief spell in his current role as Poland manager.
The move has been an extremely popular one, as Boniek is revered across Poland as one of their absolute greats. The popular president has lost no brownie points in his jump to the change rooms and is sure to have the full backing of the fans.
Experienced and popular are certainly great adjectives for a manager, but now Boniek must translate that onto the pitch. Drawn into a tough WCQ group including England and Ukraine, they have started extremely well and sit just 2 points behind leaders England. Boniek will need to continue this run to perhaps guarantee a spot in the World Cup. The 57 year old will be under immense pressure to deliver qualification to the fans, but can the legend do it? We'll have to wait and see.