Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

Dutch coach Leo Beenhakker wins love and trust of Poland fans even before tournament

Dutch coach Leo Beenhakker wins love and trust of Poland fans even before tournament

Leo Beenhakker has the love and trust of Poland's fans irrespective of what happens at the European Championship.
The 65-year-old Dutchman is the first foreigner to coach Poland and has taken the country to its first appearance in the continental competition, earning him a special place in the hearts of supporters.
"I'm happy with that because it's good and it's one of the best feelings you can have as a coach that the consequence of your job is that you made many people happy," Beenhakker said on the eve of his team's opener against longtime rival Germany. "You give them by the impact of football more self-respect, you give them more self-confidence,"
But Beenhakker doesn't feel burdened by expectation.
"If you ask me if that is putting any pressure on me, I have to say no," he said.
The savvy, veteran manager who took charge in July 2006 quickly reshaped a Poland squad devastated by its poor performance at the World Cup in Germany two years ago.
His success has led to almost cult status in Poland for the lanky, white-haired Dutchman.
The Polish weekly Wprost chose him the 2007 "Man of the Year," and president Lech Kaczynski awarded the coach with the Cross of the Order of the Rebirth of Poland.
Beenhakker, who coached the Netherlands at the 1990 World Cup and Trinidad and Tobago at the 2006 tournament, is now guiding his Poland squad with a steady hand in the last hours ahead of their clash with Germany, a team they've never beaten.
"We have our usual preparation like always, like with the qualification matches," he said. "It's not like we now do different things because we are in Euro (2008) now and we'll go walk around the park buck-naked or something.
"No, we don't do that. We have our own program, with breakfast, with a team meeting, with lunch and then some rest. Then another team meeting about the restarts, what we always do very shortly before the match, and then we go tra-la-la to the stadium. Then we're going to play tra-la-la, and if we are after the game still tra-la-la, I don't know."
If they are still tra-la-la-ing come Monday morning, Beenhakker will likely have secured himself a permanent place in the pantheon of Polish national heroes.


Updated : 2021-04-23 22:20 GMT+08:00