The book is an excellent journalistic publication by the experienced journalistic duo Beata Widłok-Żurek – Paweł Czado about outstanding erudite and representative Polish training thinking. Meet the story of a man who is fulfilled in every way.
Mark Twain once wrote, “The two most important days of your life are the ones you were born in and the ones you discovered why.” Antoni Piechniczek was born on May 3, 1942 in Chorzów and at the age of six he knew what he wanted to do in life. Much of this is due to his lateness. Jadwiga’s grandmother, who took her grandson to the first match – Ruch with Polonia Warszawa. From that moment on, “Antek” could not stop thinking about football and stayed with it almost all his life.
As a youngster, he followed the fortunes of Alfredo Di Stéfano, José Andrade and Gerard Cieślik, and then he successfully started playing football himself, winning the championship title with the Blue and the Polish Cup with legionnaires. After hanging his shoes on a hook, he quickly took care of the trainer. He made his name as coach of Odra Opole and later achieved spectacular success with the Polish national team. Unexpectedly, he won a bronze medal with the Eagles at the World Cup in Spain, a repeat of the feat of the legendary team of Kazimierz Górski in 1974, making him go down in the history of Polish football forever.
What match was his most important as a coach of the Polish national team? What was the proposal of the President of the Republic of Poland, Aleksander Kwasniewski, after the game against England at Wembley in 1996? What did he hear from one of the influential activists while working in the Persian Gulf? What car did he buy with the money he earned playing for Châteauroux and which Paweł Wojtala cannot forget to this day?
Son of the Silesian region, patriot and erudite, who entered the pantheon of great Polish coaches and received undying respect from Polish and foreign fans. In this excellent reporter’s book – thanks to his memories, as well as the statements of dozens of interlocutors – we get to know the real picture of a man whose popularity in Poland reached its peak in the summer of 1982.
The last game of the World Cup takes place in Alicante. The rival is France, the moral winner of the second semi-final against Germany. After a brutal attack by Harald Schumacher, Patrick Battiston lost consciousness and lost three teeth, and the referee did not whistle a foul. In extra time, the French lead 3:1 and yet they are eliminated in penalties. It is difficult for them to mobilize for the match with Poland. A few basic players, including Michel Platini, leave the game.
Antoni Piechniczek: – It was the best match for me at the World Cup. Before the game I mobilized the players. We had a great opportunity to repeat the performance of Kazimierz Górski’s team. For this competition, Marian Renke, the Minister of Sports, flew from Poland. He took me for a walk and says, “Mr. Antosia, mobilize the team and yourself for the last time. After a few years, no one will remember who was the sports minister then, but everyone will remember who the voter”.
Poland wins 3-2 and repeats the success of Kazimierz Górski’s team from 1974. In the bus, the lucky players drink champagne served by a fan from Switzerland.
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Piechniczek: – Three great goals, each different. Stefan Majewski scored a beautiful goal from a corner, Janusz Kupcewicz from a free kick. We spent a lot of time on permanent fragments of the game. They can be polished in two ways: for example, devote a workout to this topic once a week or practice them after each training session. I have always preferred the latter way.
Stefan Majewski: – It was an easy game for us. We knew the French appreciated us, but we realized that if we fail, nothing will happen. My goal? Well, I jumped to the ball at the perfect moment.
Janusz Kupcewicz: – There was no coincidence in this goal. In Poland I had a good reputation as a free kick taker, but then my colleagues didn’t let me shoot. This is what I approached because he was not in front of the goal but from the side and everyone was expecting a cross. And I planned to hit the short corner and it worked perfectly. That the ball went into the goal exactly close to the ground is a bit of a coincidence, but this is the corner I wanted to hit. I dedicated the goal to my father, who was already seriously ill at the time and was actually on his deathbed. I owe everything to my father, he raised me [Aleksander Kupcewicz w młodości był piłkarzem Lechii Gdańsk, potem trenerem II-ligowej Warmii Olsztyn, dużo czasu poświęcał treningom indywidualnym synów. Starszy brat Janusza, Zbigniew, był młodzieżowym reprezentantem Polski – przyp. aut.]†
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