The best footballer of the 20th century of Armenia, Khoren Hovhannisyan, is one of the founders of football club Pyunik (former Homenetmen). In 1992 in the first Armenian Championship he played and coached the team at the same time helping it to win the title of Armenia’s first champion. In particular, during the 27 matches of the championship Hovhanissyan scored 17 goals. He started the next championship as a coach and player at the same time, too, but after several rounds left for Lebanon to lead the local Homenetmen team. He returned in 1995 when Homenetmen was renamed Pyunik and Khoren Hovhannisyan took the helms of the team. Under his leadership Pyunik became Armenia’s champion two times in a row (1995/96, 1996/97). After Pyunik had been dissolved in 1998 three years later in 2001 Khoren Hovhannisyan reformed Pyunik again and won the Armenian Championship in the same season.
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Sargis Hovsepyan is the record holder of Pyunik with his spent games within the club (365 games). In 1992 he became the first champion of Armenia with Homenetmen and was named the best player of the same season. During seasons 1995/96 and 1996/97 playing for Pyunik he became Armenia’s champion for the second year in a row. After ending the 1997 season in Pyunik he moved to FC Zenit Saint Petersburg. Playing 7 years in Russia in 2004 Hovsepyan returned to Pyunik and won the Armenian Championship seven times in a row with the club (2004-2010). Overall, Sargis Hovsepyan has been the champion of Armenia for 10 times, more than anyone which is a record in the history of the Armenian Championship. During the years played for Pyunik he was announced to be the best player of the year of Armenia for three times (1992, 1995, 2008). After ending his career as a player Sargis Hovsepyan began coaching in Pyunik. In December 2013 he took the helms of Pyunik and worked with the team till July of 2016. Under his leadership Pyunik won the 2014/2015 Armenian Championship.
Photo | Juha Tamminen
Arsen Avetisyan is the best scorer of Pyunik of all times (154 goals). He was one of the young players of club Malatia who in 1992 replenished Khoren Hovhannisyan’s newly formed Homenetmen on on the eve of the first Armenian Championship. In Pyunik Avetisyan has been the best scorer of the Armenian Championship for three times (1994, 1995, 1996/97) scoring 39, 12 and 24 goals, respectively. Moreover, his 39 goals scored in 1994 have been a record for the Armenian Championship for a long time which was surpassed only in 2003. Arsen Avetisyan also became the author the first goal of Pyunik during the 1996/97 UEFA European Championship conquering the goal post of Finnish HJK at Hrazdan Stadium. He played for Pyunik from its creation till it dissolution in 1998 after which he continued his career in other clubs. In 2006 Avetisyan was back to Pyunik and played for it for two seasons. Overall, he has been Armenia’s champion for five times playing for Pyunik (1992, 1995/96, 1996/97, 2006, 2007).
Varazdat Avetisyan is one of the three players of Pyunik (along with Vardan Minasyan and Arsen Avetisyan) who served the club faithfully from its creation till its dissolution. During that span he conquered the title of Armenia’s champion with Pyunik three times (1992, 1995/96, 1996/97). In 1998 when Pyunik was on the verge of dissolution the leading players of the team, Varazdat Avetisyan and Vardan Minasyan, moved to FC Yerevan. Next season Avetisyan continued playing for Yerevan, then played for some time for Ararat and Mika. When in 2001 Pyunik was revived Varazdat Avetisayan returned to his native team and helped Pyunik to win the gold medals of the championship. After retiring he worked at the coaching staff of Pyunik and in November 2013 beacme the acting head coach of the team.
Photo | Juha Tamminen
Vardan Minasyan has played for Pyunik from the first day of its opening. Before Pyunik’s dissolution he became Armenia’s champion for three times along with the team (1992, 1995/96, 1996/97). During the 1998 Armenian Championship Pyunik’s financial difficulties made many leading players including Vardan Minasyan to move to other clubs. He spent the last part of the championship in Yerevan and next two seasons in Lokomotiv Saint Petersburg. In 2001 after Pyunik’s reformation Vardan Minasyan came back and became the captain of the team leading it to the champion title. Minasyan spent the season wonderfully and was deservedly recognized the best player of Armenia of 2001. However, often injuries threw obstacles in Minasyan’s way the following two seasons because of which he didn’t manage to regain his former shape. As a result in 2003 Vardan Minasyan quitted practicing football and began coaching in the club. He worked as a coach assistant in Pyunik several years and then headed Pyunik in 2008. Pyunik won the Armenian Championship three times in a row (2008, 2009, 2010) during Vardan Minasyan’s leadership.
Photo | Juha Tamminen
Arthur Mkrtchyan has played for Pyunik since 1995 before it spending 3 seasons in FC Nairi. Then he has been twice champion in Pyunik (1995/96, 1996/97). In 1998 he left for Russia and played two seasons for Torpedo Moscow and then for Krylia Sovetov Samara. In 2001 after Pyunik’s reformation the team was replenished by the former players among them also was Arthur Mkrtchyan who helped the team from the first attempt to win for the fourth time. During Champions League qualification rounds Arthur Mkrtchyan two times became an author of nice goals. During 2002/03 season he scored a goal in an away match against Finnish Tampere United, then in 2004/05 stood out playing against Macedonian Pobeda. Mkrtchyan has been six-time Armenian champion in Pyunik. After retiring as a footballer he has long worked in the coaching staff of Pyunik.
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Edgar Manucharyan is considered one of the most talented footballers of all times of the Armenian football. He made his first steps in football at Pyunik Sports School. As a teenager he was noticed to have a knack of scoring and exclusive effectiveness. Playing for Pyunik junior teams he won in various countries (USA, Norway, Georgia) and again stood out with his effective play. During the 1/8 finals of the 2002 Armenian Cup against Dinamo Eghvard when he was only 15 Edgar Manucharyan celebrated his debut in the line-up of Pyunik’s main team and scored a goal on the 90th minute of the match. In a week playing again Banants he also celebrated his debut in the Armenian Championship. On August 16 of the same year Manucharyan opened the list of his goals in the Armenian Premier League scoring against Lernayin Artsakh in Kapan. In 2004 17 years old Edgar Manucharyan won the title of Armenia’s champion with Pyunik for the third time as well as along with his teammate Galust Petrosyan became the best scorer of the championship with 21 goals each. At the end of the year Manucharyan was named Armenia’s best player of the year. European clubs have long been interested in his services and finally in 2005 Edgar Manucharyan moved to Ajax Amsterdam from Pyunik. He was the first Armenian footballer who managed to sign an agreement with one of the greatest European teams. Manucharyan returned to Pyunik in July 2010 and became Armenia’s champion with the team.
Robert Arzumanyan is one of the best defenders in the history of independent Armenia. He was a Pyunik alumnus and played in the the different age teams of the club. He made his debut in the main team of Pyunik on May 13, 2003 during Armenian Premier League match against Dinamo-2000. During the years played in Pyunik in 2005 at the age of 19 he made his debut in the Armenian national team. That same year he was named the best defender of the Armenian Championship by “Football Plus” Weekly. His first goal in Pyunik Arzumanyan scored on August 5, 2006 against Gandzasar at the Armenian Championship. He was recognized the second best player of Armenia two years in a row (2006, 2007). Playing for Pyunik he has been Armenia’s champion for five times, once a Cup winner and three times a Supercup winner.
Gevorg Ghazaryan made his first football steps at the Pyunik Sports School. On July 6, 2005 at the age of 17 he made his debut in Pyunik’s main line-up. The Dutch coach of the team, Henk Wisman, immediately after the interval of the match against Lernagorts substituted Aghvan Mkrtchyan with Gevorg Ghazaryan. During his first season in Pyunik Ghazaryan spent 11 matches. At the next championship he scored his first goals in Pyunik: on 24 of May, 2006 in the match against Shirak coming out as a substitute he managed to kick two goals in Yerevan. 2007 was decisisve in Gevorg Ghazaryan’s career: he made his debut in the Armenian national team when played as a substitute against Portugal national team. In Pyunik he stood out twice in the qualification round of the Champions League. The goal scored against Shakhtar Donetsk was especially remarkable. In 2010 Gevorg Ghazaryan along with his teammate Marcos Pizzelli was named the best scorer of the Armenian Championship with 16 goals each and in 2011 they both moved to Metalurh Donetsk from Pyunik. Ghazaryan has been six-time Armenian champion with Pyunik (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010).
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Henrikh Mkhitaryan is the most prominent representative of Pyunik and the Armenian football who has achieved great success and worldwide recognition. He was a Pyunik alumnus and played in various age teams of the club. In 2006 aged 17 he already made his debut in the main team of Pyunik and in the same year scored his first goal for Pyunik against Shirak during the Armenian Championship. That season Mkhitaryan scored once in 11 matches and became champion with the team. In July 2007 he also made his debut in the Champions League in the match against Derry City where Pyunik overcame the obstacle of Irish team in the first round. In the second round Pyunik faced Shakhtar Donetsk and Henrikh Mkhitaryan took part in the two matches against his future team. Later during one of his press-conferences the Romanian head coach of Shakhtar, Mircea Lucescu, told he had noticed Mkhitaryan for the first time during the match against Pyunik. In 2008 at the end of the championship Henrikh Mkhitaryan was having his trial period in Olympique Lyonnais and missed “the gold match” of the Armenian Championship against Ararat. Mkhitaryan started the 2009 season with high effectiveness scoring 11 goals and his only goal struck during the extra time of the cup final brought a victory to Pyunik. His last match in Pyunik Henrikh Mkhitaryan spent on June 30 against Gandzasar and after it moved to Metalurh Donetsk. He has been Armenian champion for 4 times with Pyunik (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009).