Ryszard Kulesza

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Ryszard Kulesza
Ryszard Kulesza 1979.jpg
Personal information
Date of birth (1931-09-28)28 September 1931
Place of birth Warsaw, Poland
Date of death 19 May 2008(2008-05-19) (aged 76)
Place of death Warsaw, Poland
Playing position Striker, manager
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
Okęcie Warszawa
Polonia Warsaw
Polonia Bydgoszcz
Teams managed
1972–1974 Lechia Gdańsk
1978–1980 Poland
1981–1983 Tunisia
1986–1987 Club Sportif Sfaxien
1987–1988 Club Athlétique Bizertin[1]
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Ryszard Kulesza (28 September 1931, in Warsaw – 19 May 2008, in Warsaw) was a Polish footballer, coach and official, one of managers of the Poland national football team. His father was killed during the Warsaw Uprising, and Kulesza himself, who was 13, was lucky to survive, as a German soldier threw him under a passing tank. After the uprising, he was forcibly taken to Germany as Ost-Arbeiter, but escaped and returned to Poland on foot.

After the war, Kulesza played in such teams, as Okęcie Warszawa, Polonia Warsaw, and Polonia Bydgoszcz. He ended his career as a player in 1961, and began working as a coach. In 1972–1974, Kulesza coached Lechia Gdańsk, and since 1974, he worked with several national teams of Poland, such as U-21 (1974–1975), and U-23 (1975–1978). In 1976, Kulesza co-worked with Kazimierz Górski, and later with Jacek Gmoch (1976–1977 and 1978). In October 1978, after Gmoch's resignation, he took the post of general manager of Polish national team, but left this post in December 1980, as a result of the Okęcie Airport incident. He was replaced with Antoni Piechniczek.

In the 1980s, Kulesza worked in Tunisia and Morocco, returning to Poland in late 1980s. He became an activist of the Polish Football Federation (PZPN), founding the school of football coaches, which was popularly called kuleszówka. He actively fought corruption, and in 1993, he supported stripping Legia Warsaw of its championship title, after Warsaw's team routed Wisła Kraków 6–0 in Kraków. Kulesza died in a hospital, suffering from Alzheimer disease. He was buried on 29 May 2008 at Warsaw's Czerniaków Cemetery.