Poland have appointed Waldemar Fornalik as their new coach in place of Franciszek Smuda, who stood down after the team went out in the group stage of UEFA EURO 2012. The 49-year-old had been seen as the frontrunner from the outset, in the wake of Smuda's announcement three weeks ago that he was bowing out.
With just eight weeks left until the start of Poland's qualifying campaign for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™, their FA said it had wanted to move fast to fill the gap. "We were aware that time is marching on, and that the battle for a World Cup berth begins in September," PZPN boss Grzegorz Lato told reporters.
Fornalik, whose contract runs at least until the end of the Brazil 2014 qualifiers, will be at the helm in time for a friendly away to Estonia on 15 August.
Poland kick off their campaign on 7 September away to Montenegro, before taking on Moldova at home four days later and England on 16 October.
Ex-defender Fornalik spent his entire playing career at Ruch Chorzow, who are based in Poland's industrial Silesia, from 1982 to '94. He was never capped by Poland.
After cutting his teeth as an assistant coach in a string of Polish top-flight clubs including Ruch, he got his first chance at the helm in 2001 at their regional rivals Gornik Zabrze. By 2005 he was at Odra Wodzislaw - ironically, replacing Smuda there - before shifting to Polonia Warsaw, Belchatow and Widzew Lodz.
In April 2009, he was named manager of Ruch, who were cup finalists that year and again this season, and runners-up in the league this term, thereby securing a UEFA Europa League berth.
Fornalik was one of three candidates for the Poland job. "We had a long discussion, and the decision was not unanimous," Lato underlined.