In Poland, a football club where everyone knows your name


Warsaw (AFP)

It may not be the best football club in Poland, or the oldest, or the most illustrious, but Graniczni Krowica has still made a name for itself -- literally. Half of the players share a last name.

"I think we have 23 Furgalas, but I'd have to check the list because even I get confused," said Henryk Nizierski, the president of the amateur outfit in the southeastern village of Krowica Holodowska, right by the Ukrainian border.

"There are usually five or six in any given match. I could even make up a whole team of 11 Furgalas, but I never do that because there are better players and we're playing to win," the 43-year-old carpenter told AFP.

"Other clubs, other people will ask me sometimes, 'So how many Furgalas do you have today?' and laugh."

Nizierski, whose maternal grandfather was also a Furgala, says only some of the players are related, estimating that they come from 10 different families.

To make matters more complicated, several sets of Furgalas even have the same first name, forcing the club to rely on dates of birth and nicknames to avoid mixups.

"We make it work. Take Tomasz Furgala -- we have two. So we call one Tomo and the other Fofo," Nizierski said with a chuckle.

The club founded in 1982 has always had a certain number of Furgalas. Nizierski says there were a handful when he himself was on the team.

The Furgalas of Poland appear to be concentrated in that part of the country, as there are only around 800 out of a national population of 38 million people, according to government statistics.