- Janusz Niedźwiedź has led Krystian Popiela in four matches of Stal Rzeszów. On September 9, 2018, a young racer died in a car accident
- Today Bear is training Widzew, the cool newcomer to Ekstraklasa. Popiel dedicated the victory with Krakow. – Just before the match started, I called Christian’s dad to say I was thinking about his son and I would like to win – he said
- In the podcast “X-ray”, the coach recalls the days when he learned about the death of the football player. – You had to make the team go to training. I wasn’t forcing anyone. I said that everyone has the right to make their own decisions. If someone wants to go home, think about it alone, they can go. If someone wanted to go out for training, they could go out. Later, Darek told Jarecki what I was doing in one of the interviews. Because I honestly say I don’t remember a few things. There was such an exercise with the goalkeeper. Players were supposed to shoot at the goal or kick the ball around the field to expel their emotions
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– At about 22.20, 22.30 I got a phone call from one of the contestants that Christian may have died, and died in an accident – he called Beers on the podcast “X-rays”. – I called uncle quickly because I was in contact with him. I picked up and knew something terrible had happened. When I talk about my coaching path, as it was difficult sometimes in the lower leagues, I also talk about the situation in which a player gets killed. Nobody can teach that during the course, no training. You had to go into the coat room and wait for Christian’s funeral all week. Five days.
Not all of them are remembered, coach Widzio admits. – Emotions were high. This is not a victory, nor a failure, not even a dismissal. This is the worst thing that has happened in my coaching career. It simply cannot be erased, even if another 10 years have passed.
I am four years after Christian’s death and to this day I find it difficult to accept the death of a talented young footballer in an accident. It was a cool boy there is a joker in the toilet, very lovable. That’s why I shocked everyone so much. Difficult moments not only for me, but also for everyone who was in this locker room. Darrick Jarecki lived with him and treated him like a son.
Getting into the toilet was hard and we spent those days in silence or everyone was looking for their own way. You had to take the team out for training. I wasn’t forcing anyone. I said that everyone has the right to make their own decision. If someone wants to go home, think about it alone, they can go. If someone wanted to go out for training, they could go out. Later, Darek told Jarecki what I was doing in one of the interviews. Because I honestly say I don’t remember a few things. There was such an exercise with the goalkeeper. Players were supposed to shoot at the goal or kick the ball around the field to expel their emotions. I was looking for solutions. I didn’t know how to deal with it.
When there is a match position, tactics, positioning, and strategy, they can be used in training. In such a situation, a person does not know how to act. I was looking for simple solutions to get rid of my anger and energy and let me get tired. Being too tired to even think about it – says Nidoido.
The day after the funeral, the Stal players had to play an away match against Wisła Puławy. They won 2-0.
– On Friday we were at the funeral, and on Saturday we went to the match. Three hours in silence. I don’t remember, but I don’t think we even checked in. We knew who we were playing for. This match was not only for Christian, but for the entire season as well. We said to ourselves that it was then possible to commemorate Christian, lest we forget about him, and the memory would last.
The coach from Lodz dedicated the victory over Krakow this season to Christian Popila. Widzew played on September 9 – the fourth anniversary of the death of the young football player.
– Before the match, I didn’t want to tell my team that. I knew she was well prepared and excited and I saw that they really wanted to win. I wasn’t throwing a grenade inside so they wouldn’t think I wanted to motivate them that way. Preparations for the meeting with Krakow began in the morning, and on that day I was thinking a lot about Christian. It was hard to escape from my mind. I wanted to win this match myself, so that I could easily go into the dressing room afterwards and enjoy the victory on the one hand, and on the other hand it’s just a symbolic date for me. It happened on that day that we were playing against Krakow and a small ray of light shone after this match. Anyway, a moment before it even started, I called Christian’s dad to say I was thinking about his son and that I’d like us to win. It is very important that Christian’s memory never dies.
We ask coach Widzew if he dedicates more successes in his career, such as promotions with Stal Rzeszów, Górnik Polkowice or more recently with Widzew, to this player.
– It is such a pleasure to be promoted with Widzew, something you have been waiting for so long. But when the next day comes, I often go back to Christian. I’m not talking about it because it’s not a story I like to tell very often. On the other hand, it’s good that we’re talking about it. Because today we can remember him and the smile that always accompanied him when he entered the locker room. It was radioactive at the time. It is important to remember about Christian. I know it’s been four years, but for me it’s only four. I can’t imagine a situation I will never forget – Bear shares his feelings.
Listen to previous episodes of the “X-ray” podcast:
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