RICHARD Kuzimski, who was inducted into the Football Hall of Fame WA in 2005, died on October 4 after a short illness. He was 70.
Born in Germany of Polish parents in 1946, Richard came to WA with his family as refugees from war-torn Europe when he was a small child.
He played football from an early age and quickly developed into a solid defender – and with a considerable turn of speed.
With his Polish background, he joined the Cracovia club and his elevation to the senior side coincided with the arrival in Perth of four Polish internationals of exceptional ability. These included the brilliant Paul Sobek, who died last year.
Another was Zygmunt Pieda, who took over the coaching reins at Cracovia (and later the State team). The internationals helped to mould the young Kuzimski into a valuable member of the powerful side that emerged for a few short years.
He was part of the 1966 First Division championship side, appeared in four D’Orsogna Cup finals in succession (1965 to 1968), winning the Cup in 1967, and then adding the 1967 Night Series to his achievements.
Richard played 26 times for WA, and lined up against some of the best overseas teams to come to Perth, such as Inter Bratislava, Moscow Dynamo, Australia, FC Zurich and twice appeared in the Merdeka tournament in Malaysia.
He was a member of the 1968 State squad that was pipped by Malaysia for a place in the final when the hosts beat WA 4-3 in a semi-final, a contest that is still regarded as one of the best matches of that tournament.
Richard, who coached Cracovia for a spell after his playing days, was inducted into the Hall of Champions in 2005.
He was an enthusiastic golfer and a member of the Scuds Social Golf Club, which is based at the Whaleback course.
Peter Faulks, another Hall of Fame inductee (2012) and a member of Scuds, said: “Dick was a lovely bloke. It was a shock when he passed away as it happened so quickly.”
The secretary of the Football Hall of Fame WA committee, George Papalairis, regularly played against Richard 40 years ago. He said: “I remember Richard as a tough and determined defender. You knew what you were going to get with him. He was a fine talent.”