Lex Panarii is a former Starblaydi footballer and coach, considered to be Starblaydia's greatest national team manager in their history. After a playing career that, for a long time, was only semi-professional, due to Starblaydia's international football hiatus, he went into management and took Starblaydia to the title of World Champions twice, something that no other manager had done for the country in its long history.
As a youth he was regarded by his teachers as both academically and athletically gifted, having a dual passion for both football and history. Due to the hiatus, a career in football was not an attractive proposition, so he played for Jhanna Praetoran University while reading History.
After a few years in the academic world, Lex returned to JPU to become a Professor of History, where he also coached the University football team. As football began to take a hold in Starblaydia, again, he eventually signed a professional contract with Iskara Daii. Doubtless he would have played many times for the Starblaydia Under-21s and Starblaydia national football team, had it not been for the hiatus, though his contribution to a generation of JPU History students and football players would not go unforgotten.
AOCAF Cup 20
Luckily for Panarii, a combative defensive midfielder, his club career lasted well into his thirties. He made his debut at the age of thirty-one in the 20th Atlantian Oceania Cup of Association Football, where he made seven appearances and scored one goal, against Schiavonia in a two-nil win in the Group Stage. Starblaydia made it through to the Quarter-Final, where they lost to Hypocria on a penalty shoot-out. Panarii would take - and score - the fifth consecutive Starblaydi penalty, but Starblaydia went out 6-5 a few moments later.
Baptism of Fire
Panarii was, by this time, the captain of his club side Iskara Daii, and were it not for the veteran Kili Izretar, who played before the hiatus, he mostly likely would have captained his country in the regional tournament, too. He was also selected for the Baptism of Fire squad in his favoured holding role and the Number Four shirt.
He was instrumental in researching and re-inventing the Raiigar, an ancient Starblaydi tribal war dance, to use before matches. It was first performed before the final Group 'Circle' match with Mallatarsland, and Starblaydia won 4-1. Panarii scored his only gold of the tournament in the second Group Stage, opening the scoring in a 7-0 defeat of Tuaim, in which Tarquin Fullbright also scored a hat-trick. He would go on to gain a Runners-Up medal from the competition after losing 1-0 to The Pazhujeb Islands in the Final
World Cup 38
Finally, Panarii was given the captain's armband during World Cup 38 Qualifying, at the age of 35, which he regards as the greatest honour of his playing career. Starblaydia performed rather admirably in the Qualifiers, considering it was their first qualifying campaign in nearly twenty years, and Panarii was always on hand to try and inspire the players. Starblaydia suffered nine defeats in their fourteen matches, finishing fifth out of eight teams. Seven of those defeats, however, came by just a single goal, with the only larger losses being a 2-0 defeat to 95X and a 5-1 defeat by former three-time champions Ariddia. This showed that Starblaydia certainly had the potential to qualify for the Cup if they could score a few more and concede a few less in their campaign. Though retiring from internationals after this tournament, and playing for a few more years for Iskara Daii, Panarii went into management.
Panarii's achievements with the Daii over nearly a decade (2069-2077) included three Liga Starblaydia titles, the third won in 2077 along with a Tiberius Cup in an historic domestic 'Double', the Daii's first for nearly a century, as the last was won in 1979. After the Double with the Daii, Panarii was snapped up by the national team.
After the footballing high produced by co-hosting World Cup 40, Panarii was given command of the national team itself and handed a single task: Win a third World Cup by World Cup 50. If he couldn't do it, he was to see out his contract and prepare the way for the next manager who could, as he was unlikely to be coaching when the 50th World Cup came along. Instantly he became a massively-important cog in the great wheel that was the Starblaydi squad. Quickly becoming known as a master tactician, motivator and all-round inspiration for Starblaydia, he was noted for his man-management skills and motivational speaking, inspiring his players to greater feats than they'd thought possible. He was also not afraid to change a tactical situation early, rather than waiting those extra few minutes to see how things played out, like most coaches would.
Against all expectations he did it on his very first attempt, winning World Cup 41 scarcely twelve months after lifting Starblaydia's record-breaking sixth AOCAF trophy in its 23rd edition. He registered a record margin of victory in just his third match in charge: 9-0 against Kosovoe, before going on to defeat the West Starblaydia hosts of AOCAF 23 and beating Bazalonia by a score of 3-0 in the Final to take their first trophy since the hiatus.
In the following year, his team lost just two matches in their Qualifying campaign for the 41st World Cup - both to Tynelia, as they qualified in second spot for the 41st World Cup. They gained three draws in the Group Stage in Ad'ihan, making them only the fifth team in history to qualify from the Group Stage without a win. It was his Half Time team talk against Valanora in the Semi-Final that he is most famous for, a talk that brought his team back from 3-1 down to win 4-3 in Extra Time. They went on to defeat Capitalizt SLANI in the Final and list a historic third world championship. Once the celebrations calmed down, his, and Starblaydia's, mission was quickly changed to a fourth title by World Cup 50, and he re-focused his efforts toward achieving that, too.
World Cup 44
Starblaydia would not defend their title during World Cup 43, and nor would they win it back in World Cup 43. In time for World Cup 44, however, Elves made their presence known in Starblaydia once more, for the first time in thousands of years. Players such as Valrauncion, Ázëwyn Fëanáro and Dacil Taniquentar were available for selection. With them, forging an alliance of Elves, Dwarves, Men and Women, Panarii's side - captained by Diamontii Di Bradini - stormed to the title, defeating the likes of Capitalizt SLANI, Valanora and Cafundéu on their way to a 3-3 draw After Extra Time in the Final, which they would win 7-6 during a marathon penalty shootout, lasting ten penalties each.
After the glory in Trilan, Kura-Pelland, of moving level with the legendary sides of Bedistan and Rejistania with their fourth World Cup trophy, Panarii had managed his last international football match. He left the game, pausing only to aid Starblaydi legend and former World Cup Committee President Simeone Di Bradini in his research for the book Craziness Encouraged; a history of the World Cup. His next career move, however, was most unexpected.
In the run-up to World Cup 46, fresh elections were held for the position of President of the World Cup Committee. Unbeknown to him, the Starblaydi Football Association had put forward Panarii's name for consideration to replace the incumbent from The Archregimancy. By the time the votes had been counted, an shocked Panarii was asked to take up the position of President on behalf of the SFA, to follow in the footsteps of Simeone Di Bradini and two-time President Giovanni Lopez. Panarii quickly accepted, installed for a first term between World Cups 46 and 48.
|Starblaydia World Cup Captains
World Cup 38
|Starblaydia squad - Baptism of Fire for WC38 Runners Up|
1 F. Rodriguez | 2 Conigglia | 3 Canildo | 4 Panarii | 5 Bravo | 6 Melciori | 7 Mora | 8 Izretar (c) | 9 Hinkonnen | 10 Fullbright | 11 Proviia | 12 Birgau | 13 Bazraltek | 14 Brunner | 15 Gomes | 16 Shakirii | 17 Domozis | 18 Chong-sun | 19 Nikolaidis | 20 L. Perheira | 21 Petyrsen | 22 Di Angelo | 23 Marbek | Coach: Marrones
|Starblaydia squad - World Cup 38 Non-Qualifiers|
1 F. Rodriguez | 2 Bazraltek | 3 L. Perheira | 4 Panarii (c) | 5 Bravo | 6 Melciori | 7 Mora | 8 Di Angelo | 9 Hinkonnen | 10 Fullbright | 11 Canildo | 12 Birgau | 13 Rivolli | 14 Brunner | 15 Proviia | 16 Shakirii | 17 Domozis | 18 Chong-sun | 19 Nikolaidis | 20 Chang-hwa | 21 J. Oscar | 22 Gomes | 23 Marbek | Coach: Marrones
|Starblaydia squad - World Cup 41 Champions|
1 Nikolaidis | 2 Chang-hwa | 3 C. Di Bradini | 4 Stafador | 5 Kuu | 6 L. Perheira (c) | 7 Nakamura | 8 Kaneda | 9 Callind | 10 Lubii | 11 F. Bentley | 12 Westwood | 13 V. Matranga | 14 Drakkiborgo | 15 Djibroné | 16 Di Angelo | 17 Debrier | 18 Rph. Torino | 19 van Agmark | 20 DiCampo | 21 Tze-shu | 22 Il-Ajun | 23 D. Di Bradini | Coach: Panarii
|Starblaydia squad - World Cup 42 Last 16|
1 Westwood | 2 C. Di Bradini | 3 Drakkiborgo | 4 Tze-shu | 5 Kuu | 6 Kaneda | 7 Nakamura (c) | 8 Myung-Bo | 9 Callind | 10 D. Di Bradini | 11 England | 12 V. Matranga | 13 Seji | 14 Buckstone | 15 Movalinen | 16 Stafador | 17 Il-Ajun | 18 Lubii | 19 Wilson | 20 Samba | 21 Mus'haf | 22 F. Bentley | 23 Thayil | Coach: Panarii
|Starblaydia squad - World Cup 43 Quarter-Finalists|
1 Westwood | 2 Movalinen | 3 Drakkiborgo | 4 Tze-shu | 5 Kuu | 6 Buckstone | 7 England | 8 Nakamura (c) | 9 Callind | 10 D. Di Bradini | 11 Vegachenko | 12 Samba | 13 Seji | 14 C. Di Bradini | 15 Bekkinha | 16 Mus'haf | 17 Myung-Bo | 18 Oscar | 19 Wilson | 20 Logan | 21 Petropoulos | 22 Na-Me | 23 Kaii'n | Coach: Panarii
|Starblaydia squad - World Cup 44 Champions|
1 Taniquentar | 2 Movalinen | 3 Avathar | 4 Mus'haf | 5 Logan | 6 Samba | 7 England | 8 Fëanáro | 9 D. Di Bradini (c) | 10 Valrauncion | 11 Vegachenko | 12 Westwood | 13 Valdano | 14 Palandau | 15 Petropoulos | 16 Canion | 17 Kaii'n | 18 Soronúmë | 19 Wilson | 20 Mehzubontin | 21 Halatyrion | 22 A. Bazrimar | 23 Oscar | Coach: Panarii