Team Poland holds on to defeat Switzerland in international friendly

An undermanned Team Poland, missing almost 30 starters, scored early and then held on to defeat a similarly roster-depleted Team Switzerland 13-6 Saturday in Lubin, Poland.

Due to a dispute between the top club in Poland – Panthers Wroclaw – and the Polish American Football League, Team Poland head coach Brad Arbon and his staff suddenly had to cobble together a makeshift roster after the team banned their players from playing for the Polish national team.

That’s where the coaching staff decided to call in reinforcements, new players from other Polish Topliga and PLFA 1 teams were given the chance to represent their homeland.

Visiting Team Switzerland head coach Chris Winter also opted for youth and used the game as an important step in the preparations for the Group B, qualifiers. The Swiss roster was filled with young players with relatively little international experience .

“Quickness is the essence of War” Sun-Tzu

Poland struck early and often, opening the game with impressive aerial assault orchestrated by QB Mariusz Górecki, who found dynamic WR Patryk Matkowski for the opening touchdown, xp was missed, and Poland took a 6-0 lead . Later in the first quarter, the Polish defense recovered a missed snap by the Swiss inside their red-zone and gave the offense another opportunity to score.

Two plays later Górecki scored again on a 5 yd run, the following kick was good giving Poland a 13-0 lead .

Swiss WR Secka Cheyasin Photo: Sergio Brunetti

The Swiss Guard fights back

As the game progressed, Switzerland gained momentum led by hard hitting LB 47 Gael Jimenez , QB Beat Gatcher and RB Yannik Pankrath . Polish defense protected the house and did not allow any scores in the first half- the unit was led by LBs Szymon Barczak and Dominik Janda other bright spots were “The Punsher” Daniel Tarnawski, Tomasz Żukowski, Krysztof Tomczak  The deep zones were w patrolled by the “The Dark Knight ” Marcin Kaim, who wore a black helmet, not the Scarlet- winged one. Marcin suffered a concussion in the game against France during the World Games and was allowed to wear a model that gave him a better protection and “felt better. It is a great case of prioritizing players safety and making the game safer.

Win the second half.

During the post-game press conference Swiss HC, Chris Winter admitted that he advised his players to leave it all on the field and win the second half. His words worked as only the visiting side scored in that part of the game, a pair of field-goals from the toe of Nils Jonkmans cut the Polish lead to 13-6.

However the “Polish Pressure Defense” kept the lead until the final gun, sealing the victory. The game was an excellent opportunity for young players to gain international experience, both teams competed hard but played fair with sportsmanship

The last dance

Saturday’s game was the last game for Team Poland head coach Brad Arbon and his staff as it concluded the 2017 Wroclaw World Games project . In less than 3 years his  team played 11 games a number unprecedented in Europe- in the words of PLFA Commissioner Jedrzej Steszewski. 

After the game Coach Arbon was thankful for the opportunity and reflected that working with Polish players and coaches as an amazing experience.

Filip Pawelka the Polish National Team Offensive Coordinator added, one of the main objectives of the program was the development of polish players and coaches, the last two years was a giant step for American football in Poland

 

Wojciech Andrzejczak
Wojciech "Voyt" Andrzejczak. Head Coach of Kozly Poznan and President of the New England Patriots Polska fan club. He recently worked with Jim Criner’s ACTA in China, coached US National Football Team and Clifton Mustangs (NJ) . His articles have been published in AFCA Summer Manual and leading websites .
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