Panajot Pano in 1964
|Full name||Panajot Thoma Pano|
|Date of birth||7 March 1939|
|Place of birth||Durrës, Albania|
|Date of death||19 January 2010(aged 70)|
|Place of death||Jacksonville, Florida, United States|
|1957–1960||17 Nëntori Tirana||28||(8)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
He started his career as a goalkeeper in the 17 Nëntori Tirana youth academy, but later became the most prolific centre-forward of their arch-rivals, Partizani Tirana. During his eighteen-year career he played 24 matches as part of the Albanian national football team and was awarded the Albanian UEFA Jubilee Award.
Panajot Pano was born in Durrës, to ethnic Greek parents Thoma and Vasilika Pano (Greek: Παναγιώτης Πάνου, Panagiotis Panou) who came from Lefterhor, Delvinë. He developed a passion for the sport when he was around 4–5 years old. His parents were against him playing football and instead wanted him to focus more on school.
Pano begun his football career in 1954 by playing as a goalkeeper for 17 Nëntori Tirana. He their youth team which was coached by the former national team manager Adem Karapici initially and then Xhavit Shyqyri Demneri until the age of 16. He was handed his under-19s debut with Tirana by Demneri on 18 July 1956 in a youth national championship game against Korabi Peshkopi and he scored his first goal for the side on 5 August of the same year against Kukësi.
Pano was handed his professional debut by manager Myslym Alla in senior side in 1958 as an 18-year-old, entering as a substitute in a Republic Cup game against Besa Kavajë which ended in a goalless draw. He scored his first senior goal in the returning leg but the team lost 2–1 and was eliminated from the competition. Pano remained a member of the under-19 team at the time and had to wait until the following season before he would establish himself as a first team member.
His league debut occurred on 4 May 1958 in the Tirana derby match against Dinamo Tirana, where he contributed in the 4–0 win by scoring a goal. Pano changed his role from goalkeeper to striker during a league match against Partizani Tirana where 17 Nëntori was losing 4–0. It was coach's Demneri decision to play him as a striker.
He played his final game for Tirana on 9 December 1959 against Besa Kavajë in a game which ended in a 4–2 win for Pano's side.
On 12 December 1958, Pano was called for the military service and eventually signed for Partizani Tirana. He played his first match for his new side under Rexhep Spahiu on 14 February 1960 against Dinamo Tirana in which he also would score his first goal for his new club in the 3–0 win. He scored 7 goals in his first season which helped the team to finish runner-up in the championship which was won by Dinamo Tirana.
Pano finished 1961 season as top scorer (with 14 goals) as Partizani Tirana won the championship. For his performances Pano earned the Albanian Sportsperson of the Year award. Two years later, he was part of the team that played in the Spartakiad tournament, an official championship of communist countries army clubs. Pano scored four goals during the tournament, including a memorable hat-trick in the 3–1 win over Vorwärts B. Partizani eventually reached the final and was subsequently defeated by XI CSKA/SKA.
On 17 September 1969, Pano returned at Tirana to participate in the first leg of 1969–70 European Cup's first round against Standard Liège; he played as a starter but was replaced by Niko Xhaçka after 65 minutes, as Tirana lost the game 3–0. He didn't play in the second leg which saw Tirana crashing out of the competition 4–1 on aggregate.
In 1970, Pano played in the Balkans Cup, scoring 2 goals as Partizani became the first and only Albanian club to win an international competition, as they defeated Beroe Stara Zagora in the final, following a 1–1 draw in Tiranë and a 3–0 awarded win for the second leg, as Beroe withdrew.
Pano announced his retirement from football in May 1975.
Pano has been an Albanian international, earning 28 caps and scoring 4 goals between 1963 and 1973. He also captained the national team in 10 occasions. He scored his first international goal on 30 October 1963 against Denmark in the 1964 European Nations' Cup qualifying stage which marked Albania's first ever win in qualifiers match.
His son Ledio Pano, became also a well known football player and played for the football clubs of Partizani, Luftëtari, Xanthi FC and Pas Ioannina. He was also capped several times with Albania.
On 6 March 2009, Pano received the order Honor of Nation from the President of Albania, Bamir Topi. This was the first time in the history of Albania that a footballer was honored with the Honor of the Nation order.
Goals in Albanian championships
Albania score listed first, score column indicates score after each Pano goal.
|1||30 October 1963||Qemal Stafa Stadium, Tirana, Albania||4||Denmark||1–0||1–0||1964 European Nations' Cup qualifying|
|2||26 May 1971||20||Romania||1–0||1–2||1972 Summer Olympics qualifiers|
|3||14 November 1971||22||Turkey||3–0||3–0||UEFA Euro 1972 qualifying|
|4||8 November 1973||28||China PR||1–1||1–1||Friendly|
- Partizani Tirana
- Albanian Superliga: 1961, 1962–63, 1963–64, 1970–71
- Albanian Cup: 1961, 1963–64, 1965–66, 1967–68, 1969–70, 1972–73
- Balkans Cup: 1970
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- "Ndërron jetë legjenda Panajot Pano" [Legend Panajot Pano passes away] (in Albanian). Telegrafi.com. 19 January 2010. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
- Dritan Ikonomi (20 January 2011). "Albania's 'Little Puskás'". UEFA.com. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
- "Panajot Pano, perëndia mistike e Ballkanit" [Panajot Pano, the mystical god of Balkan] (in Albanian). Vizion Plus. 17 March 2017. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
- "Day of National Mourning in Honour of the Greek Albanian Footballer Panajot Pano". Hellenes Abroad / Greece. 21 January 2010. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
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- "Albanian Football Season 1960" (in Italian). Giovanni Armillotta. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
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- "Two legendary International Tournaments of Partizani Tiranë: Leipzig (1958) and Hanoi (1963)". Giovanni Armillotta. Retrieved 6 September 2018.
- "Partizani i Hanoit '63" [Partizani of Hanoi 63'] (in Albanian). Panorama Sport. 23 April 2014. Retrieved 6 September 2018.
- "Standard Liège 3–0 KF Tirana". UEFA.com. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
- "KF Tirana 1–1 Standard Liège". UEFA.com. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
- "Balkan Cup 1970-79". RSSSF.com. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
- "Football PLAYER: Panajot Pano". EU-Football.info. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
- "Panajot Pano i Europës" [Panajot Pano of Europe] (in Albanian). Panorama Sport. 6 May 2014. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
- "Pano i Kupave të Europës" [Pano of European cups] (in Albanian). Panorama Sport. 30 April 2014. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
- "Albania 3-0 Denmark". UEFA.com. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
- "Ledio Pano". Bundesliga.weltfussball.at. 23 May 1968. Retrieved 10 September 2010.
- "Football : Ledio Pano". Footballdatabase.eu. 23 May 1968. Retrieved 10 September 2010.
- "Ledio Pano - Steckbrief". SPOX.com. 23 May 1968. Retrieved 10 September 2010.
- "UEFA EURO 2012". UEFA.com. Retrieved 10 September 2010.
- "Golden Players take centre stage". UEFA.com. 29 November 2003. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
- Fatjon Pandovski (30 March 2010). "Albania pays respects to favourite son". UEFA.com. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
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