Greek Football Mourns Death of Kostas Polychroniou

(Kostas Polychroniou with Pele, 1961)

The Olympiacos family and Greek football in general, are mourning the death of Kostas Polychroniou, a great player and coach, who died of cancer on Friday at the age of 81.

Olympiacos Football Club issued a statement saying, “We mourn the loss of a giant.” Clubs, associations and the Hellenic Football Federation issued similar statements for the passing of Polychroniou.

The funeral procession will take place on Monday at the Birth of Christ Church in Penteli, at 17:30.

Kostas Polychroniou — born in Platanistos, Euboea on November 12, 1936 — played for Olympiacos from 1953 until 1968.

As a player, Kostas Polychroniou won six Championships with Olympiacos (1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1966, 1967), eight Cups (1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1963, 1965, 1968), and one Balkan Cup in 1963.

The great player starred in the legendary 2-1 victory over Santos, Pele’s team, on July 4, 1961. The triumph against the incredible Brazilian team became part of the Piraeus club’s anthem.

Polychroniou was also there when Olympiacos; the first Greek team to participate in a European Cup tournament, faced Milan on September 13, 1959.

The emblematic player was also part of the national team for a decade, playing in 27 games. He debuted on May 5, 1957, in the home match against Yugoslavia (0-0) for the 1958 World Cup qualifiers.

When he stopped playing football, Polychroniou followed a coaching career. In 1994 he succeeded Alketas Panagoulias as coach of Greece’s national team, after the humiliating participation in the World Cup held in the United States. He stayed with the Greek team for 34 matches, counting 17 wins, 6 draws and 11 losses (goals 56-32).