AFC Futsal Team of the Year: Japan
Kuala Lumpur: Japan have won the AFC Futsal Team of the Year Award in recognition of their victory in the AFC Futsal Championship 2012.
The Japanese capped a fantastic campaign in the UAE with a 6-1 win over Thailand in the final to win the tournament for a second time after becoming the only team to win AFC Futsal Championship other than Iran when they triumphed in 2006.
Japan won all their 2012 group stage matches, which started with a 3-2 defeat of Lebanon before they recorded 6-1 wins over Tajikistan and Chinese Taipei.
The East Asians came through a hard-fought quarter-final clash against Kyrgyzstan, which was settled by a solitary goal from tournament MVP Rafael Henmi, before Japan comfortably defeated Australia 3-0 to set up the final with the Thais.
Following their dominant display in the final, Japan emerged from the tournament having scored 25 times at the expense of just five after the six matches they had played.
Collecting the award from AFC Executive Committee and FIFA Futsal Committee member Dr. Tran Quoc Tuan on behalf of the Asian futsal champions, Japan Football Association President Kuniya Daini said:
"Winning this award shows that futsal in Japan is moving in the right direction. We have developed a lot in futsal and it is an honour that the AFC is recognizing our efforts of promoting and developing the game in the country.
"There are lots of young kids who prefer to play futsal these days so I really hope that there will be a mutual supports futsal and football.
"Now Asian futsal is not only about Iran. They are still the team to beat but there are countries like Japan and Thailand who are also doing really well."