New Polish Team in Bydgoszcz Gathers Interest
Saturday, January 17 2015 @ 11:42 pm ACDT
Contributed by: Wesley Hull
With previous attempts stumbling, Poland may soon see a new team (or two) if Gareth Smith can bring his project to fruition. Most recently the Polish Bisons were put together in Poznan, but after recent contact the only remaining Bison admits that the club is now inactive.
Gareth, however, has the love of the game and the drive to kickstart the game in a nation which he believes has the latent talent to take on the game and excel.
“I have lived in Bydgoszcz for over eight years now but still love footy! I am a massive Cats fan and have been since I was a kid. I kick the footy in the park almost every day with my kids in summer and I still feel the old competitive juices flowing, so I tried to find an Australian football team here in Poland.”
“I took over the Futbol Australijski w Polsce Facebook page to see if I could help. I am in the process of putting a Polish voice over to the AFL Explained video and the Skills video. I hope this will be done by the end of January.”
“I have recently contacted everyone who sent messages to the Facebook page to see if people are interested in having a kick, skills sessions and learning about the rules – we’ll see [what happens from that].”
“Of course, I am doing this in the little spare time I have. If I could find the sponsorship to make this a full time thing I would love it. I say that because I truly believe there are athletes in this country that can crack it in the big league in Australia. Poland recently won the World Volleyball championships, the have had great results in the world championships in European Handball, tennis is on the rise (Poland won the Hopman Cup last week and Agnieszka Radwanska will give the Aussie Open a crack this year) and Robert Lewandowski is one of the best strikers in the world. Also the basketball league around the country is very developed and there is now Marcin Gortat playing NBA for the Washington Wizards”
“The plan for now is to find a dozen blokes in Bydgoszcz and a dozen blokes in Poznan, where there was once an interest and a good effort by a young guy there to get things going. I did have some contact from an Aussie guy in the Tri-City area [the cities of Gdansk, Gdynia and Sopot to the north of Bydgoszcz on the Baltic Sea] and I have some hope he could do the same.”
In the short term Gareth has some work to do in getting local council approval for the use of suitable sports fields. He will also be in touch with the Minister of Sport in Warsaw to form the AFL Polska association. Then comes the task of running Auskick clinics to encourage youth to learn the game and possibly unearth the next David Wojcinski or James Podsiadly – two former Cats of Polish origin.
He is also in the market for footballs and jumpers, should clubs be in a position to donate.
Certainly, if Gareth’s plans can come to be then there is potential for a considerable growth of interest and teams in more than one Polish city. This could have positive ramifications for the game in that part of Europe, possibly becoming another link to existing clubs in Germany and the Czech Republic – or beyond. But for now Gareth’s challenge is simply getting started locally, so that he and his kids can find some more people to have a kick with in the parks of Bydgoszcz.
Anyone interested in assisting Gareth in his task can either contact us here at World Footy News, or go to the Polish football Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/FutbolAustra...lhc.recent