Smuda named new Poland coach

WARSAW - Euro 2012 co-hosts Poland have appointed Franciszek Smuda as coach in place of sacked Dutchman Leo Beenhakker, the head of Poland's Football Association (PZPN) Grzegorz Lato said on Thursday.

Smuda, who is the national team's 44th coach, has a contract until the end of the European Championship in which Poland are guaranteed an automatic place as co-hosts with Ukraine.

"He has a lot of time to prepare the team for the European Championship. Although he has two and a half years, his work will be assessed as it progresses," PZPN's deputy head Antoni Piechniczek was quoted as saying by PAP state agency.

Smuda replaces temporary coach Stefan Majewski, whose team lost the last two games of the 2010 World Cup qualifiers.

"I feel great," Smuda was quoted as saying on www.uefa.com. "It has been my dream to work with the Polish national team."

Poland dismissed Beenhakker after their hopes of reaching next year's World Cup in South Africa were ended by a 3-0 defeat away to Slovenia in Group Three. Poland finished second from bottom above only San Marino in the six-team group.

Smuda, 61, has coached in Germany and Turkey since retiring as a player in 1983 but his career has mainly been with Polish clubs. He has won the domestic championship three times - twice as coach of Widzew Lodz and once with Wisla Krakow.

His latest team Zaglebie Lubin are third from bottom of the standings with nine points from 12 games.

Smuda will take charge of Poland for the first time for their friendlies with Romania on November 14 and Canada four days later. They do not play a competitive match until the European Championship but Smuda does not see that as a problem.

"Every match for the national team is very important, even a friendly, so I'm sure there will be 100 percent motivation for me and the players," he said.