Pyunik’s unique talent

Edgar Manucharyan scored twice against Pobeda in F.Y.R. Macedonia
Wednesday, 21 July 2004
By Khachik Chakhoyan

His hero is Ronaldo and he has been compared to Romanian legend
Gheorghe Hagi, but after scoring two UEFA Champions League goals for
FC Pyunik, and topping the goalscoring charts back at home,
17-year-old striker Edgar Manucharyan is becoming a phenomenon in his
own right.

Ten goals

Last season, the striker’s 12 goals helped Pyunik win the Armenian
title, and his winning run has stretched into 2004. Aside from the two
he scored in last week’s 3-1 win against FK Pobeda in F.Y.R.
Macedonia, he has already scored ten goals in seven league starts and
three substitute appearances at home.

Meteoric rise

Manucharyan has been recognised as a player of significant talent ever
since he first kicked a ball in earnest at the age of nine. Former
USSR international and FC Ararat Yerevan midfield player Khoren
Hovhannisyan, who was named as the country’s Golden Player in the
Armenian Football Federation’s UEFA Jubilee poll, said: “I know
Manucharyan from his first steps in football.

‘Bright future’

“He played in the youth teams together with my son,” added
Hovhannisyan. “It was clear that he was very gifted from the very
first day. He is fast, and he is very determined to work to
improve. He has a bright future if he keeps on training hard and
thinks only about football.” Terrific pace Few in Armenia would
disagree with that assessment. Manucharyan’s skills are exceptional in
a player of his age and he boasts terrific pace and a great eye for
goal, as Pobeda found to their cost. He has also starred for Armenia
at Under-17, U19 and U21 levels, with a senior team call-up on the

Leading figure

One of the top Armenian journalists, Football Plus editor-in-chief
Suren Bagdasaryan, has followed his progress closely, and said: “Edgar
is an event in Armenian football on his own. It is not often that
players like this come along. He has all a striker needs, and it is no
accident that he is a leader at Pyunik and with the national teams. If
Manucharyan maintains his professional attitude, he will become a top
class player. However, for that he will need to switch clubs.”

Going west

Certainly, that looks like the most likely option for the player. He
may harbour ambitions to play for Manchester United FC, but having had
trials with French clubs FC Girondins de Bordeaux and Olympique de
Marseille, as well as piquing the interest of United’s rivals
Manchester City FC, his future maylie elsewhere.

Level head

Pyunik president Karen Harutyunyan is convinced that a number of other
clubs are watching Manucharyan – something that the striker himself
must also have noticed. Nonetheless he remains patient. “Right now I
am Pyunik’s forward, so I hope to help my team,” he told back
in November 2003.

Next challenge

His next chance to do so will come in the home leg of the tie against
Pobeda as Pyunik aim to earn a second qualifying round tie against
Ukrainian giants FC Shakhtar Donetsk. And Pyunik coach Vardan Minasyan
is certainly not ruling out the prospect of more goals for Manucharyan
in Yerevan.

‘Top form’

“He is on top of his form and rarely leaves a pitch without scoring a
goal,” said the coach. “He helped us to beat Pobeda in the first leg
by scoring twice and making an assist. There are very few players of
such talent in Armenia, and you can already call this lad the finished
item.” If he continues to develop at his current rate, the world will
soon be forced to agree.

© 1998-2004.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress