The Albanian government has announced the 21st of January as a day of national morning in honour of the Greek Albanian legendary footballer, Panajot Pano, who passed away at the age of 71 in a Florida Hospital on Tuesday, after a heart attack. Sali Berisha, the Albanian Prime Minister characterised him as the “greatest footballer of the country, of all times”.
Mr. Berisha stated that “all the country is mourning the loss of this great footballer who made us proud”. “Pano’s death was a huge loss for Albanian football,” Berisha said, adding that he would be buried with state honors.
Panajot Pano, who was born on March 7th 1939 in Durrës, started his career as a goalkeeper in the SK Tirana youth academy, but he became the most prolific centre-forward of their arch-rivals, Partizani Tirana. During his eighteen-year career he played 24 matches with the Albanian national football team and was awarded the Albanian UEFA Jubilee Award.
He won four Albanian championships with Partizani Tirana, five Albanian Cups, and in 1970, the Balkans Cup. On the international front, he played 25 times (3 goals) for the Albania national football team.
In November 2003, to celebrate UEFA’s Jubilee, he was selected as the Golden Player of Albania by the Football Association of Albania as their most outstanding player of the past 50 years.
On March 6, 2009, Pano received the order Honor of the Nation from the President of Albania, H.E. Bamir Topi. This was the first time in the history of Albania that a footballer was honored with the Honor of the Nation order.
His son Leonidas Pano, played football for the football clubs of Xanthi and Ioannina.
Photo: Panajot Pano (left) and Beckenbauer (right)