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Soccer: Hasebe named AFC Asian International Player of the Year

Former Japan captain Makoto Hasebe was named Asian International Player of the Year on Wednesday at the Asian Football Confederation Annual Awards in Muscat.

Hasebe, currently with German first division side Eintracht Frankfurt, skippered the only Asian team to reach the knockout stage this year in Russia in his third World Cup as Samurai Blue captain.

The 34-year-old announced his retirement from international duties following Japan’s 3-2 defeat against Belgium in the round of 16 at the World Cup. He made 114 international appearances and led Japan to an AFC Asian Cup title in 2011.

(Makoto Hasebe is pictured during Japan’s 2-0 loss to Ghana in a friendly in Yokohama on May 30)

Among other award recipients in the Omani capital, Kashima Antlers boss Go Oiwa was named men’s Coach of the Year for leading his side to their first Asian Champions League title earlier this month.

(Kashima Antlers manager Go Oiwa)

Nadeshiko Japan manager Asako Takakura, who steered Japan to their second straight AFC Women’s Asian Cup title in April, was named women’s Coach of the Year for the second straight year and historic sixth time overall.

Saori Takarada won Youth Player of the Year for contributing to Japan’s first victory at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in August. Futoshi Ikeda earned the AFC President’s Special Recognition Award for leading Young Nadeshiko to victory.

Kashima Antlers midfielder Kento Misao and teammate Yuma Suzuki were both nominated for AFC Player of the Year, but lost out to Qatar’s Abdelkarim Hassan. Japan defender Saki Kumagai finished runner-up to China’s Wang Shuang on the women’s side.

(Asako Takakura (top center) celebrates with her players after winning the gold medal at the 2018 Asian Cup in Indonesia on Aug. 31)

All — Kyodo News+

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