Santos appears set to be hired as next Poland coach

Sports

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — The head of Poland’s soccer association has posted on Twitter a photo of himself with former Portugal coach Fernando Santos — a day before a news conference where the name of the new Poland coach will be announced.

The tweet by Cezary Kulesza said “See you at the news conference tomorrow.”

Kulesza will make the announcement at Warsaw’s National Stadium.

Earlier Monday, an online video on the Sport.pl portal and reposted by Gazeta.pl appeared to show the 68-year-old Santos leaving the VIP line at Warsaw airport. He was assisted with his luggage by a driver of a black limousine in which Santos left the airport.

Poland didn’t extend the contract of former coach Czeslaw Michniewicz after it reached the knockout rounds at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar for the first time in 36 years. Michniewicz’s contract ended Dec. 31.

Kulesza has said the new coach would be a foreigner with experience in running a national team. Media reports had previously linked another former Portugal manager, Paulo Bento, with the job as well as Liverpool great Steven Gerrard.

Santos parted company after eight years as Portugal coach following a loss to Morocco in the World Cup quarterfinals in Qatar. He left amid controversy after benching Cristiano Ronaldo in the knockout stage of the tournament.

Santos led Portugal to the 2016 European Championship — the country’s first international trophy — and the inaugural Nations League title in 2019. He also coached Greece at Euro 2012 — where it reached the quarterfinals — and the 2014 World Cup.

Before Kulesza posted his tweet, Poland’s sports minister, Kamil Bortniczuk, appeared to pre-empt Tuesday’s announcement when he tweeted to congratulate the soccer association and called Santos a highly successful coach with “experience in working with great stars, to begin with @Cristiano.”

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