Armenian football mourns death of Zanazanyan

The Armenian football community is mourning Hovhannes Zanazanyan, a Soviet Top League champion with Ararat and Olympic bronze medallist, who has died aged 68.

Oganes Zanazanyan (L) with Armenia president Serzh Sargsyan
Oganes Zanazanyan (L) with Armenia president Serzh Sargsyan ©Hakber

Armenian football is mourning the death of Hovhannes Zanazanyan. The former Soviet Union and FC Ararat midfielder has passed away after a long illness at the age of 68.

One of Armenia's most famous footballers, Zanazanyan joined Ararat in 1966 and, as captain, helped the Yerevan-based club to a Soviet league and cup double in 1973, also winning the USSR Cup again two years later.

In 1972 Zanazanyan was part of the Soviet Union team that claimed a bronze medal at the Munich Olympics. He made a total of six appearances for the USSR. The midfielder, who also briefly represented Spartak Moskva, played 243 games and scored 56 goals for Ararat in the Soviet Top League. He embarked on a coaching career after his playing days, including a stint with his country's Under-21 side.

"This is a huge loss for Armenian football," said Football Federation of Armenia (FFA) president Ruben Hayrapetyan. "We have lost a legend, a people's captain of the famous Ararat club from an era when they achieved success in the USSR competitions. His name and achievements will be fondly remembered for generations."