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OFI coaching legend Eugene Gerards dies

GEORGE GEORGAKOPOULOS

TAGS: Soccer

Dutch-born soccer manager Eugene Gerards passed away on Tuesday at the age of 77 years, leaving behind him a great legacy in the local game after spending decades on the benches of Greek teams, especially that of OFI Crete.

After a playing career in the Netherlands with Fortuna Sittard and Limburgia, Gerards became a coach and spent an unrivaled 15 consecutive seasons at OFI, leading the Iraklio club to a triumph in the Greek Cup in 1987 as well as an historic qualification over Atletico Madrid in Europe’s Cup Winners’ Cup in 1993.

He also worked for AEK, Iraklis and Panachaiki in Greece, APOEL in Cyprus and Roda Kerkrade in his native Netherlands.

Tributes started pouring in as soon as the sad news became known, with all of Greece’s major clubs expressing their sorrow at the passing of the great manager and man, stressing how he graced Greek soccer and Crete in general.

He was particularly honored while he was still alive last November as OFI and a number of his former players organized a very moving testimonial at Iraklio, which Gerards attended on a wheelchair.

He is survived by his wife and two children.

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