Japan's Takakura among finalists for FIFA's The Best awards

Monday, September 3, 2018
Asako Takakura - Japan women's head coach - AFP

London: Japan's Asako Takakura remains in the running to add The Best FIFA Women's Coach Award to her five AFC Female Coach of the Year honours, after being named as one of three finalists on Monday.

Takakura was named alongside Olympique Lyon's UEFA Women's Champion League-winning head coach Reynald Pedros and Sarina Wiegman, who led her native Netherlands to the UEFA Women's Euro 2017 title.

Australia's Alen Stajcic was one of seven previously shortlisted candidates to miss out on a nomination for the final three.

It has been a memorable 2018 for Takakura, who guided the Nadeshiko to April's AFC Women's Asian Cup with a 1-0 over Australia in Jordan, before claiming gold at the 2018 Asian Games with a win by the same margin against China PR just last Friday.

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If the 50-year-old is successful at the official ceremony, to be held in London on September 24, she will join the man she replaced - 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup-winning head coach Norio Sasaki - as the second Japanese head coach to have won FIFA's highest coaching honour.

While Takakura remains in contention, fellow Asian hopefuls Sam Kerr and Saki Kumagai were eliminated from The Best FIFA Women's Player category, with Brazil star Marta and Lyon duo Ada Hegerbeg and Dzsenfier Marozsan reaching the final three.

Finalists: #TheBest Women’s Coach Award 🏆

🇫🇷 @ReynaldPedros
🇯🇵 Asako Takakura
🇳🇱 Sarina Wiegman#FIFAFootballAwards pic.twitter.com/NsgkWeUfkg

— FIFA.com (@FIFAcom) September 3, 2018

Meanwhile, Melbourne City midfielder Riley McGree will go up against nine other strikers from some of the biggest names in the game including Juventus' Cristiano Ronaldo for FIFA’s Puskas Award.

McGree produced a moment of magic just before the hour mark in last season’s A-League semi-final when Newcastle Jets were losing 1-0 against his new club and on course for a semi-final exit. His stunning 'scorpion-kick' strike has been nominated for the most beautiful goal of the year.

Messi, Ronaldo, Salah....McGREE!

Congratulations to @McgreeRiley on being nominated for the @FIFAcom #Puskas Award. https://t.co/g9UW9IUslE

— Melbourne City FC 🏙️ (@MelbourneCity) September 3, 2018