Poland's French duo, Ludovic Obraniak and Damien Perquis, must learn the language
French-born Poland players Ludovic Obraniak and Damien Perquis reportedly have been ordered by the squad's boss to take Polish lessons to finally get their language skills up to scratch.
French-born Poland players Ludovic Obraniak and Damien Perquis reportedly have been ordered by the squad's boss to take Polish lessons to finally get their language skills up to scratch. (File photo: Ludovic Obraniak)
"Communication within a team is essential. If someone has weak speaking skills, we expect them to take Polish lessons," the tabloid Fakt quoted Poland manager Waldemar Fornalik as saying on Tuesday.
"It would be good if the players that earn a call-up could speak and understand when someone addresses them in Polish," he added.
Bordeaux midfielder Obraniak and Real Betis defender Perquis, both now 28, first won berths in the Poland squad in 2009 and 2011 respectively.
Despite having been in France's under-21 side, they remained eligible to switch to Poland because FIFA rules against team-hopping only apply to senior players.
Both men became citizens of Poland thanks to grandparents from France's large Polish immigrant community.
They reportedly communicate with their team-mates in a mixture of basic Polish and English - or French with squad members who play or have played for clubs in France.
Their on-pitch performances have in general pleased fans, with Obraniak scoring a fine honour-saving goal in Poland's 3-1 defeat last week in a friendly against Uruguay.
But ever since winning their first cap they have had to fight off nationalist critics on the Polish political and football scenes who oppose the idea of so-called foreigners in the squad.
During Euro 2012, co-hosted by Poland, both men took the battle to their opponents by giving opening statements in Polish at team press conferences and singing the national anthem ahead of matches.
Another player who has faced nationalist ire is Eugen Polanski, who was born in Poland but emigrated to Germany as a toddler.
His adversaries have rounded on the fact that he actually captained Germany's under-21s, someone they see as a betrayal of his roots.
His Polish skills are less of an issue, and have won him cult status because his language is notably earthy.
Those in favour of such players underline that they are a tiny minority and that Poland only began scouting abroad after criticism for losing the likes of Germany's Lukas Podolski and Miroslav Klose, who like Polanski are Polish-born but German-raised.