KOCSIS90 BUDAPEST event at Groupama Aréna

On Thursday, 14 November 2019, as part of the KOCSIS 90 memorial year, an event was organised to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the legendary Hungarian football player, Sándor Kocsis, a World Cup top scorer. The founder of the memorial year is Dr Barnabás Kovács, former Hungarian consul general in Barcelona and currently Head of the Innovation and Research Centre of Széchenyi István University in Budapest. The main patron of the event was Sándor Csányi, president of the Hungarian Football Association (MLSZ) and vice president of FIFA and UEFA.

On 14 November 2019, an event was held in honour of Sándor Kocsis, the first Hungarian World Cup top scorer. It was organized by Dr Barnabás Kovács, former Hungarian Consul General in Barcelona and currently Head of the Innovation and Research Centre of Széchenyi István University in Budapest.

The ceremony, organised in cooperation with Lagardère Sport Hungary, operator of the stadium in Groupama Aréna, was held with the kind permission of the family of Sándor Kocsis.  As Kocsis was a strong player on the FC Barcelona team for years of his professional carrier, the Catalan club was also represented at the occasion by José Barnils (FC Barcelona) and Pere Mora (ABJ board member).

Nearly 600 people responded to the invitation and in the end, close to five hundred guests came to celebrate the life of the legendary football player, Sándor Kocsis, and to commemorate his 90th birth anniversary.

 

Around 500 people arrived to celebrate

 

The event was moderated by Réka Gilicze, Head of Communications at the Hungarian Reformed Church Aid and László Szabó, President of the Hungarian Paralympic Committee. The commemoration was opened by Pál Orosz, chief executive of Ferencváros football team, followed by Dr Tünde Szabó, Minister of State for Sports. Later, in his speech, former Mayor of Budapest, István Tarlós – currently prime ministerial commissioner – recalled his favourite player, the top scorer at the World Cup in 1954.

György Szöllősi, Ambassador of Hungarian Football Tradition and Affairs presented Sándor Kocsis’s biography. As the author, sports journalist Zalán Bodnár, also participated in the event, participants had the opportunity to get an autographed copy immediately following the event.

Sponsors and collaborators received an FC Barcelona T-shirt, specially emblazoned with KOCSIS 90

 

After the formal ceremony, participants were invited to visit an exhibition dedicated to Sándor Kocsis’ life, and take a look at the football player’s memorabilia exhibited by the Puskás Institute. A short film about Sándor Kocsis was also presented by Tibor Kocsis, film director. Gabriella Létay-Kiss, the Liszt Ferenc Prize-winning artist of the Hungarian State Opera, together with the Hungarian State Folk Ensemble performed some of the favourite songs of Kocsis, pieces of Carpathian-Hungarian music and the anthems of Fradi and Barca.

As a surprise, Nikita Simonyan, originally coming for the opening ceremony of the Puskás Stadium on 15 November, gave a speech at the KOCSIS90 event interpreted by Sándor Varga, former manager of FTC. Simonyan scored a goal during the opening match of the old Puskás Stadium in 1953. (Budapest Honvéd – Szpartak Moszkva 3:2) and in which his team won the game.

Furthermore, Hristo Stoichkov, top scorer in the 1994 World Cup and Golden Ball winner, welcomed guests via an emotional video message. Stoichkov lives in Miami and works for UNIVISION, the biggest Spanish-language channel in the United States.

The official part of the event was followed by a buffet dinner where invitees had the possibility to take photos with the guests of honour. 

Nikita Simonyan with his translator Sándor Varga

 

As a farewell present, all guests received a gift package of the recently published biography in Spanish and Hungarian as well as a DVD film titled Hungarians for the Barca, directed by Tibor Kocsis.

 

The ceremony closed with a speech from Dr Barnabás Kovács, founder of the memorial year of Kocsis 90


The Kocsis90 Budapest event was organized as the highlight and closing ceremony of the memorial year dedicated to Sándor Kocsis. A similar event was held in Barcelona on 8 April 2019, in addition featuring the KOCSIS 90 Carpathian Cup, a football cup for 11 year-old players, organized in collaboration with the Consulate General of Beregszász.

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