The 1990’s

An eventful number of years, which resulted in the end of one era, and the birth of another. 1990 and 1991 saw Polonia in the Division One competition for the final time. The latter commenced the downward spiral of the club.

After finishing mid table in 1990, Polonia edged towards the bottom the following season, when placed second last. The only highlight for the ’91 season being Jarek Nowicki’s Player of the Year victory at the NSW Soccer Federations’ Presentation Awards.

The darkest hour for the club came in 1992. Already faced with relegation, they were dealt a further blow on the park, when finishing the year as cellar dwellers. To add to their already mounting concerns, the club was declared financially unstable, leaving then President Gerard Chrabowski and his final committee consisting of:-
J. Szczygieł, Z. Turczak, T. Weston, W. Zarzeczny, S. Baranowski, G. Sobala,
A. Anderson, T. Wiseman, E. Woodburn and L. Sepping, with no alternative but to close the doors on the football component of the club.

1992 saw Polonia register just four wins, and in their final ever match, they registered a fate saving 1-1 draw against Petersham. Rodney Whyatt scored Polonia’s last goal in the 49th minute. Adam Kwaśniewski finished the season on a high note, being the club’s leading goal scorer with 10 goals for the year.

The next few years saw a great part of their 10-hectare site sold off to meet financial payments, in the process losing its second field and open car park to the west of the ground. Soccer was no more for Polonia. Chopin Park remained a venue with Division One club West Wanderers assuming tenure of the field for a few years.

For many die-hard associates of the club, the pill proved too hard to swallow, not having Polonia associated with soccer anymore. After some lengthy discussions and negotiations during the latter months of 1995 and early stages of 1996, Marian Cieślik, Eugene Rosik, Henryk Mojsa and other others formed a new club, titled Kościuszko shortly in the new year.

With the recently-adopted laws preventing the use of ethnic names in practice, the name Kościuszko was chosen as the preferred identity of the club, after much deliberation and consideration of other names.

Kościuszko was now formed and registered with the NSW Soccer Federation, and enough players were recruited to form a 1st Grade and Reserve Grade team, in time for kick-off of the 1996 Division Five competition.

In a promising start, Kościuszko ironically finished their first season in 1st Grade in fifth place, the same as Polonia finished in their inaugural years 38 winters earlier. Former Polonia player Henryk Mojsa coached the newly re-formed club, with fellow former Polonia player and coach, Marian Cieślik the Club’s President.

The Club produced some good results for the next two seasons. In 1997, Marek Jakubowski took over the helm. During that year, Kościuszko finished a disappointing 12th in the season proper, but showed their capabilities when they won the inaugural Polish Ambassadors Cup in Canberra, beating Wisła Melbourne.

The following year, Father Ryszard Gamański, a former Polonia Sydney and Melbourne player, with a colourful coaching resume, took over the tenure. That year, Kościuszko hosted the first Kościuszko Soccer Challenge at Chopin Park, and were runners-up in this pre-season tournament.

In the NSW State League competition in 1998, Kościuszko were deducted seven competition points by the NSW Soccer Federation for late fee payments, which ultimately denied them their first semi-finals appearance.

In the year-ending Polish Ambassadors Cup, Kościuszko lost their crown, when Wisła Melbourne avenged their defeat of 12 months ago to steal the title. Kościuszko lost 2-3.

Finally after four years of toil, the 1st Grade side was rewarded with a deserved semi-finals berth in 1999. After two tough matches in the semi-final and final, Kościuszko eventually succumbed to the dominant Kellyville Kolts in the end of season decider at Valentine Park by 2-5. Goal scorers were Adam Biziuk and Ian Beggs.

Also that year, Kościuszko were awarded the NSW Soccer Federation’s Fair Play award for Division Five.