– We’ve been waiting for this day for 10 years. When Żan Tabak left us, we thought about having him back home – they say in Sopot. We know the club will have a bigger budget. He declares a struggle for great causes.
PAP / Adam Warżawa / In the photo: Żan Tabak
– This is a great moment for our club – says the owner, Kazimierz Wierzbicki, the patron saint of Tri-City Sports. It is he who invests a lot of money in the development of teams under the sign of Trefl: Sopot (basketball players) and Gdańsk (volleyball players). When the basketball team only finished 10th last season, he decided to add a lot of money to the budget to count again in the battle for something big in the Energa Basket League.
The first and foremost goal was to hire an experienced trainer who knows the recipe for building a strong team. It’s no secret that the number one on the list was Żan Tabak, a Croat who … ten years ago – in Sopot – started his coaching adventure in Poland. Then a short one, only a few months old. He left for Spain, but left a big impression. He returned to land on the Vistula in 2019, when he took over at Enea Zastalu BC.
“I wish they had brought him to Madrid”
– President Karnowski sent me to Madrid and we have this effect. The trainer has good memories of this place and that was the main reason he ended up here again. He has a great fondness for the city and the club – emphasizes Kazimierz Wierzbicki.WATCH THE VIDEO: #dziejesiewspsport: a goal as out … a computer game! There was nothing to collect
Trefl’s representatives went to Madrid a few weeks ago to meet and have a substantive conversation with Żan Tabaka about the future of the club in Sopot. We know that Trefl – at this meeting – was represented by chairman Marek Wierzbicki, owner Kazimierz Wierzbicki and Tomasz Kwiatkowski, who is responsible for sports affairs in the club.
– I am very happy that such a coach will work in Sopot again. It’s a great name and a great specialist. I have a grudge against Mr. Kazimierz that he did not take me to Madrid, I would like to be there – smiles Jacek Karnowski, president of Sopot, who is also heavily involved in the development of the basketball club.
– In fact, the idea of getting Żan Tabaka was born in our heads when … the coach left us 10 years ago. After the last failed season, we wondered what to do to move up the league hierarchy. We found that the most important element is the commitment of a first-class coach – admits Marek Wierzbicki, the son of Kazimierz, the CEO of Trefl.
Żan Tabak in 2012 in Sopot
– Żan Tabak was the number one. I think his employment has been a great success, although the negotiations were not easy at all. In total they lasted more than four weeks. I know Żan Tabak had many offers from Europe, so the satisfaction is double. This is what the Croat started in 2012 and now he is coming back to continue this project – adds the president.
In addition, it is worth noting that another Croat, Ivica Skelin, who recently worked in Twardy Pierniki Toruń, was high on the list. In the end it found its way to the Belgian Telenet Giants Antwerp.
The Croat was presented – during the meeting in Madrid – Trefl’s long-term development plan, which is based on a return to the battle for the leading positions in the Polish league and playing in European cups (the club is trying to get involved in Europe in the coming season, there is talk about the performances of, among others, .in EuroCup).
– We presented the trainer with an ambitious and interesting project with great possibilities. As a club we have a good reputation that spreads all over Europe. We want to play in cups, but it can be difficult because the first places are offered to the teams that are higher in the table. At the moment it is too early to make statements – emphasizes the president of Trefl.
– Unfortunately in 90% of sports it is not a rule that you pay regularly. The club from Sopot is a positive example and belongs to the 10 percent. The coach made the decision to sign the contract in May, so he has time to build a team. This is great news, President Karnowski added.
It is true that next season the club will have a big – for the Polish reality – budget. Unofficially, we hear that the Tobacco coach, who is fully responsible for building the squad, will have about PLN 5 million at his disposal for the players themselves. That is a lot if we take into account the possibilities of other clubs from Poland. With this amount, the team can realistically think about the battle for the top positions in PLK.
It is worth adding that the following Poles have important contracts – with different options – with the Sopot club: Paweł Leończyk, Michał Kolenda and Mateusz Szlachetka. A Croat who is already building the squad will conduct an individual interview with each of them.
– I do not hide that I hope that the magic of the name “Tobacco” will attract many interesting players to Sopot – emphasizes Marek Wierzbicki.
Thursday’s press conference with the participation of Żan Tabak aroused great interest from journalists. The Ergo Arena conference room was almost full. It even surprised the Croat himself, who hopes attendance will be very even over the course of the season.
– I’m glad you came to Ergo Arena in such large numbers. I hope the turnout continues in a few months. I am happy to be back in Poland and to be part of such an ambitious project. I would like everyone to be involved in building the team. I don’t just mean the players and the coaching staff, but also the heads of the club, sponsors and our fans. In 2012, I thought we were doing well. I hope it will now be similar – emphasizes Tobacco.
The Croat signed a three-year contract with Trefl, but – as he himself emphasizes – asks for patience. He’s not the kind of man who uses a magic wand to make the team go straight back to the top. This will require hard work, patience and… a bit of luck in assembling a squad.
The name Tabaka causes a lot of commotion in the Polish environment. It was in Poland that he achieved the greatest successes of his career. With Zastal, he won two medals (gold and silver) and the Polish Cup, and several players jumped to a higher level (the best example is Iffe Lundberg, who now plays … in the NBA!).
Now he must rebuild the strength of Trefl, who celebrated his greatest successes in the 2011/2012 season. After that, the team reached the grand final (defeat with Asseco Prokom Gdynia 3:4). A few months later, the team – already with Tabaka on board – won the Polish Super Cup.
– We signed a three-year contract. It has clauses that allow the trainer to be fired in certain situations. But we are secured and if it happens, the club will reimburse – informs Marek Wierzbicki.
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Basketball Poland Jacek Karnowski Kazimierz Wierzbicki Energa Basket League Żan Tabak Trefl Sopot Marek Wierzbicki