Men's National Team

Official: Michniewicz Declared Selekcjoner of Poland

Czeslaw Michniewicz is the new selekcjoner of the Poland national team / PZPN
Official: Michniewicz Declared Selekcjoner of Poland

WARSAW, Poland. January 31 (PSN) – Czeslaw Michniewicz has officially been announced as the new selekcjoner of the Poland national team.

With month long search complete, the 51-year-old was unveiled on Monday as the one who will take over the vacant manager position for the Bialo-czerwoni.

“After many talks, analysis and long reflection, I made a choice that I am satisfied with and consider it the best possible option in the present conditions. Coach Michniewicz convinced me with his specific plan. Our main goal is play-off matches and – as we both believe – advancing to the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.” said Cezary Kulesza, President of the Polish Football Association (PZPN).

Michniewicz signed a short term contract with the PZPN until the end of the year, with an option to extend based on performance.

“I did not hide that I was negotiating with several coaches. I wanted to get to know the point of view from different perspectives, hence my conversations with coaches from Poland and abroad. This group included, among others, Adam Nawalka. He is a professional in every way. However, the details decided the final decision. Coach Michniewicz can count on my full support and commitment. I perfectly understand the emotions of the fans and the media interested in the hiring of the new selekcjoner for the Polish national team. This is the most important coaching position in Polish sport. For me, the last month was a time of hard work, meetings and talks with coaches, analyzing many details. Now that the casting has been made, all that matters is “operation Russia”. Advancing is our goal and I believe that with Czeslaw Michniewicz on the coach’s bench this task is feasible. We look to the future with optimism, which our new selekcjoner is also known for.” summed up Cezary Kulesza.

He takes over the position from Paulo Sousa, who in December unexpectedly abandoned the job after receiving an offer to coach Flamengo in the Campeonato Brasileiro Serie A.

“The situation we found ourselves in at the turn of the year was really difficult. We were left both without a coach and a staff for the national team. There was a limited number of available coaches on the market to apply for such a prestigious position, so we had to put our emotions aside and carry out the whole process very carefully. I met different coaches, analyzed their ideas of ​​running the team, negotiated the terms of the contract so that the situation we dealt with at the end of December would not happen again. I chose Czeslaw Michniewicz, who has the right qualities and experience to lead the team in the fight for the FIFA World Cup.” said Kulesza.

The hiring of Michniewicz will no doubt be a controversial move in-itself for the PZPN, as the experienced coach also carries a checkered past with him being allegedly connected to match-fixing and corruption in Polish football.

Infamously nicknamed ‘711’, Michniewicz received this moniker by fans and media after it was revealed in a court case that he had made a total of 711 phone calls with Ryszard Forbrich, known as ‘Fryzjer’ (Barber), the head of the Polish football mafia.

“I would like to thank Mr. Cezary Kulesza for his trust and for entrusting me with the most important job in Polish football. I am glad that my dreams are coming true, I am very touched.” said Michniewicz in the press conference on Monday.

While Michniewicz was allegedly accused of working alongside Forbrich and fixing several matches during his time as head coach at Lech Poznan in 2004, he ultimately was never charged by prosecutors. When asked about his connections to Forbrich, the face of corruption in Polish football, Michniewicz preferred to rather look forward than in the past.

“I am primarily interested in the mission against Russia, but also what is happening now around me. I would like to emphasize emphatically: I did not do anything wrong, contrary to what some say. By asking me this question, you are insinuating that I participated in selling matches. Nobody confirmed that I ever did it. I want to finish this topic once and for all.”

In defence of the new selekcjoner, Cezary Kulesza also stepped to make it clear that had there been criminal charges than he would had chosen a different candidate.

“If there was a criminal sentence, Mr. Czeslaw Michniewicz would not be sitting with us today. Let’s focus on the play-off game, not kicking our ankles. Our goal is to advance to the World Cup.” appealed the PZPN president.

Michniewicz now takes on the difficult task of managing the Poland national team in the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier play-offs against Russia in March.

He most recently coached Legia Wasaw in the Ekstraklasa this past season, where despite qualifying to the UEFA Europa League, he also led the capital city club to its worst league run in history that ultimately saw him be sacked in October. After finishing last place in the UEFA Europa League group stage, Legia began the new year off in the relegation zone at 17th place in the Ekstraklasa standings. Despite all of this, Michniewicz looks to start fresh by helping Poland overcome Russia in FIFA World Cup qualifying.

Poland play Russia on March 24 in their first 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier play-off. If they succeed, they will take on either the Czech Republic or Sweden in one more play-off fixture for the chance to book a place in Qatar this winter.

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