KUALA LUMPUR – Japan was named Asian soccer’s Team of the Year by the Asian Football Confederation on Wednesday after successfully defending its Asian Cup title in China this summer.
Japan was booed and harassed throughout the tournament by local fans still harboring resentment over Japan’s wartime aggression in the country but Zico’s team responded brilliantly by beating the host 3-1 in the final.
Japan midfielder Shunsuke Nakamura was named the top player of that tournament but he missed out on the honor for Player of the Year, which went to Iran’s Ali Karimi.
Karimi was joint top-scorer at the Asian Cup along with Bahrain’s A’ala Hubail, both men scoring five goals. The Women’s Player of the Year award went to Japan’s Homare Sawa.
Adnan Hamad was named Coach of the Year for leading war-weary Iraq to the quarterfinals of the Asian Cup and the semifinals of the Athens Olympics.
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