AFC Women's Coach of the Year 2018: Asako Takakura
Muscat: Japan’s Asako Takakura was named the AFC Women’s Coach of the Year for a historic sixth time at the AFC Annual Awards 2018 in Muscat, Oman on Wednesday.
"I feel very proud that I have this honour almost every year. But this is really for my players and all coaches who have given so much to the game.
"Of course, we aim to win the World Cup next year. And I am confident that with unity, we can make our country proud," said Takakura.
Takakura, who previously won the award in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017, guided Japan to the 2018 AFC Women's Asian Cup Jordan, with the Nadeshiko defeating Australia 1-0 in the final to defend the title won in 2014.
Japan also claimed the 2018 Asian Games Indonesia gold medal, defeating China PR 1-0 in the final.
Takakura made headlines when she became the first ever female coach for the Japanese women’s national team when she succeeded Norio Sasaki in 2016.
Her stellar work with the U-16 side in 2014 saw Japan beat Spain 2-0 for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, and the team followed that up with a third place finish in the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup France 2016.
The 50-year-old former Japanese midfielder started as an assistant coach in the 2009 and 2011 AFC U-16 Women’s Championship.
In 2013, she led the Japan U-16 team to the AFC U-16 Women’s Championship title, with the Young Nadeshiko defeating DPR Korea in the final.
Two years later, she repeated history with the U-19 team in the AFC U-19 Women’s Championship in China PR, again defeating DPR Korea to secure the title.