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Father's death recalls trauma for Poland captain
Published : 24 May 2012 17:47:03
Poland captain Kuba Blaszczykowski was Thursday training with the rest of his team-mates, after the death of his father, whose memory is indelibly associated with the 1996 killing of the player's mother.
With less than three weeks left until Euro 2012 kicks off on home turf, the Germany-based midfielder delayed his arrival at the Poles' training camp in Lienz, Austria.
A statement on his website referred simply to "personal reasons" for not having come to the camp as planned on Monday.
But Polish media reported that the 26-year-old had gone to Poland for Tuesday's funeral of his father Zygmunt, who passed away on Sunday aged 56.
Blaszczykowski's success in the football spotlight -- he has been with German double winners Borussia Dortmund since 2007 -- is all the more impressive because of his childhood trauma.
In September 1996, when Blaszczykowski was just 11 and already playing for his local youth team, he reportedly witnessed the stabbing of his mother Anna by his father, who was later jailed for 15 years.
"This will stay with me for my entire life. I'd give anything for my mother to be still alive," Blaszczykowski, who has rarely spoken about his past in public, said in a Polish television interview two years ago.
"What happened switched my life around by 180 degrees," he added. "It's like a rock fell on your head, and after a week you wake up and have to start life all over again. I'll never understand what happened, nor why."
After the horrific incident, Blaszczykowski and his brother Dawid were reportedly raised by their grandmother, in a football-loving environment.
His uncle Jerzy Brzeczek, now 41, was a Poland midfielder for seven years captaining the team that won Olympic silver in Barcelona in 1992, and retiring in 1999.
Blaszczykowski made his Poland debut in 2006.
Suggesting how emotionally tough attending the funeral was likely to have been, several newspapers underlined that the player and his brother had avoided contact with their father, who served his time and was released.
Blaszczykowski is himself a father, as his wife Agata gave birth to their daughter Oliwia in April 2011.