AFC Women’s Coach of the Year: Asako Takakura
Bangkok: Japan’s Asako Takakura has been named the AFC Women’s Coach of the Year for a historic fifth time at the AFC Annual Awards 2017 in Bangkok, Thailand on Wednesday.
Takakura, who won the award in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015, made headlines when she became the first ever female coach for the Japanese women’s national team last year as a successor to Norio Sasaki.
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 49-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.
Next up for Takakura is the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2018 in Jordan.
"It is all about the players, thanks to them. They have put in a lot of effort all the time. Each game will be important as we have the AFC Women's Asian Cup next year, so that will be our target, but one game, at the time, we are going to do our best on the pitch.
"I would like to thank the players, my family, Japan Football Association and AFC. Everybody supported us, without this support we couldn't have achieved this goal," said Takakura.