AFC Youth Player of the Year (Women) 2016: Fuka Nagano
Abu Dhabi: Japan captain Fuka Nagano has fended off competition from DPR Korea’s Sung Hyang-sim and compatriot Hana Takahashi to be named the AFC Youth Player of the Year following her sterling efforts at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Jordan 2016.
Already viewed by many as a star of the future when she was a part of Japan’s 2014 winning team at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica, Nagano was to be an ever-present in her country’s midfield as Naoki Kusunose’s side reached the competition’s 2016 final in Amman.
Despite eventually losing on penalties to regional rivals DPR Korea - and having become the first player to appear in two FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cups - Nagano’s superb performances in Jordan saw her win the competition’s Golden Ball - the Most Valuable Player of the tournament - award.
There can be little doubt that it was justified recognition for a player whose exceptional leadership and consistency throughout the global gathering already has her earmarked as one of Asia’s brightest talents.