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Kazimierz Deyna

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Huge thanks to Krzysio Bandych for sending this excellent profile from Poland.

Kazimierz Deyna

Kazimierz Deyna

Kazimierz Deyna was the best Polish player in history. He was nicknamd 'rogal' (croissant). His team mates called him that because Deyna's shots looked like croissants. His life was just like his shots - unforeseeable.

In 1966 he became a Legia Warsaw's player. Deyna was an offensive midfielder and a very intelligent playmaker. Both coaches Vejvoda of Legia and Gorski from the national team understood that if they gave him 'the freedom of kicking and thinking' he was unstoppable.

In 1972 during the Olympic Games in Munich, two excellent goals from Deyna in final of the football tournament gave Poland the gold medal. Two years later at the 1974 World Cup Finals, also held in Munich, Poland, with Deyna as captain, won the best result in their history and showed football of next century.

Deyna scored three goals in the tournament. The most beautiful was a shot scored against Italy from a distance of eighteen metres. Dino Zoff had no chance. Deyna was chosen as one of the top three players of the tournament with
Johan Cruyff and Franz Beckenbauer (Star Players of Mexico).

Unfortunately, he couldn't go to the west after the '74 World Cup. Real Madrid sent a shirt to Poland for Deyna with a number 14.  Prince Rainier tried to take him to AS Monaco, but Kazik didn't get permission to play in Western Europe. As a player of Legia the army club, he was officer of Polish army, as a soldier he couldn't leave Poland.

Kazimierz Deyna playing against Beckenbauer

Kazimierz Deyna playing against Beckenbauer

Only when he was 31 years old and no longer in the same shape, did he go to ManCity. He became the second player from Eastern Europe in premiership. It was not good time for him. The English style of playing football was not suited to Deyna's own style. To play well, Deyna had to have full trust from the coach and teammates. The manager of Manchester City sometimes used him as a centre striker, sometimes as defensive midfielder. It wasn't a clever move !

In 1981 he moved to USA, and became a San Diego Sockers player. At this time Deyna took a part in the famous football film, 'Escape to Victory' with Pelé, Bobby Moore, Osvaldo Ardilles and Michael Caine.

The 80's period was a time of many disappointments for Deyna. He lost a lot of money, and had problems with his marriage. Sometimes he used to get drunk. His dream was to make a football school for children and teenagers in Poland. Deyna's dreams never came true.

On the 1st of September 1989 in San Diego, his car crashed into a big truck. The boot opened and dozens of footballs fell out. Deyna was coming back from training for 10 year old boys that he had organised.

Kazimierz Deyna, born 23.10.1947 in Starogard Gdanski; died 01.09.1989 in San Diego
Midfielder, captain of polish national team in 1974 and 1978.
Champion and vice-Champion of Olympic Games in 1972 and 1976.

In Polish team: 97 matches plus 6 unofficial, scored 41 goals (4 unofficial);
Third player of WC'74;
Clubs: Wlokniarz Starogard Gdanski (1960 - 1966), LKS Lodz (1966 one game), Legia Warsaw (1966 - 1978, 304 matches in league, 94 goals), Manchester City (1978 - 1981, 38 matches in league, 12 goals), San Diego Sockers (1981- 1987). 
For links on other sites see...

An incredible site that is a very fitting tribute can be found at (in Polish)


Thanks very much to Chris (Krzysio Bandych) for the above profile and sending the two pictures, too.

Return to Legia Warsaw
Bob Dunning
9 March 2005

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