Soccer

Makoto Hasebe voted AFC’s top Asian international player

Kyodo, Reuters

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 Asian Cup title in 2011.

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 its first Asian Champions League title earlier this month.

Nadeshiko Japan manager Asako Takakura, who steered Japan to its second straight 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.

Hassan, a left-back played a key role in club side Al Sadd reaching the semifinals of the Asian Champions League this season.

“I am very glad and proud to achieve this award,” said Hassan, who becomes the second Qatari to secure the award after 2006 winner Khalfan Ibrahim.