Member Associations, Wild Boars FC, Futoshi Ikeda honoured
Muscat: Japan Football Association was awarded the AFC Member Association of the Year 2018 - Inspiring at the 2018 AFC Annual Awards in Muscat on Wednesday after a phenomenal year which saw its teams and programmes shining on virtually every stage.
Japan were the only Asian side to advance to the Round of 16 at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia while the senior women's defended the 2018 AFC Women's Asian Cup Jordan in April and won the 2018 Asian Games Indonesia gold.
At the age-group level, Japan won the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup while the men emerged champions in the AFC U-16 Championship Malaysia 2018 and were semi-finalists in the AFC U-19 Championship Indonesia 2018.
See also :
The Japanese women's team won the silver medal at the 2018 Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires while J.League side Kashima Antlers won the 2018 AFC Champions League title, to keep the prized trophy in Japan for a second straight year following Urawa Red Diamonds' 2017 triumph.
"We want to thank the AFC for this award. We are very honoured to be recognised as the best federation in Asia and this will motivate us to do better in the future. This trophy is for our staff, players, coaches, administration, everyone who has work so hard," said Kohzo Tashima, Japan Football Association President.
DPR Korea Football Association was awarded the AFC Developing Member Association of the Year as the men and women's game thrived in the country through its initiatives in organising and promoting numerous competitions.
"Football is a very special sport for people in DPR Korea. We are very pleased to receive this award. The AFC President has mentioned One Asia, One Goal and we are believers of this message. This award confirms that football in our country is on the right track," said Han Un Gyong, Vice President of the DPR Korea FA
The Mongolian Football Federation (MFF) was presented with the AFC Aspiring Member Association of the Year award.
The MFF was honoured for its tireless efforts in organising various courses and seminars while successfully promoting youth football across their country.
"This is first time that Mongolian football has been rewarded with such a prestigious award and we are very pleased with this success. We know that there is plenty of work ahead," Ganbaatar Amgalanbaatar, President of the Mongolian Football Federation said.
"Whether it is Social Responsibility, Women's Football or futsal, we are committed to taking football to even greater heights."
The AFC President's Recognition Awards for Grassroots Football 2018 – Inspiring was awarded to the Chinese Football Association for its exemplary efforts in developing the game.
The Chinese Football Association has left no stone unturned in its bid to popularise and develop the game at the grassroots level.
"We are very proud to receive this award. We thank the AFC for this award. Football is a top priority for China PR and we are committed towards improving our systems," said His Excellency Du Zhaocai, Acting President of the Chinese FA.
The Football Association of Singapore's efforts saw it awarded the AFC President's Recognition Awards for Grassroots Football 2018 - Developing.
"This is the second consecutive award for the FAS and we are extremely humbled by this honour. The FAS is fully committed towards expanding the reach of the grassroots programmes. This is testament to all our valued partners and stakeholders," said General Secretary Yazeen Buhari.
The AFC President's Recognition Awards for Grassroots Football 2018 – Aspiring was awarded to the Palestinian Football Association.
"We feel extremely encouraged. This will inspire us to do better. Next year, we want to win the developing category. I thank all our partners for believing in us. This is a victory for everyone in Palestine," said Susan Shalabi, Vice President Palestine Football Association.
Wild Boar FC of Thailand and Japan U-20 women's head coach Futoshi Ikeda were presented with the AFC President’s Special Recognition Award.
AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa presented the awards in recognition of their fortitude and inspiring achievements in 2018.
Wild Boar FC were presented the award in recognition of the extraordinary bravery and resilience displayed by the 12 boys and their coach, who were trapped in the depths of the Tham Luang cave in Thailand.
The team will be invited to witness the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 match between Thailand and India in Abu Dhabi on January 6.
Football Association of Thailand President, Pol. Gen. Somyot Poompanmoung, received the award on behalf of Wild Boars FC.
"On behalf of the Wild Boars FC, I would like to thank the AFC and the AFC President for this award. The players and their coach have truly moved the world with their courage. I know they will be extremely pleased," said Somyot.
Ikeda was honoured for leading Japan to the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup title in France earlier this year.
Ikeda's success in steering Japan to the title for the first time was a fine example of the AFC's ambitions, through its Vision and Mission to succeed on the world’s biggest stage.
Japan were magnificent in the tournament, displaying consistency throughout as they ended their campaign with a 3-1 win over Spain in the final, having finished third in 2012 and 2016.
"I am very pleased with this award. This is a tribute to my players, the entire backroom staff and everyone in Japan football. We prepared really well for the tournament and to emerge as champions is almost indescribable.
"This team has incredible potential to perform better and to be among the best in the world at the senior level. And we will continue to work hard towards making it a reality."
Recommended Stories :