Member Associations recognised for commitment to game
Hong Kong: Japan Football Association (JFA) was awarded the AFC Member Association of the Year 2019 - Inspiring - for the fifth time at the 2019 AFC Annual Awards on Monday.
Hong Kong Football Association LTD. (HKFA) and Guam Football Association (GFA) were honoured with the AFC Member Association of the Year 2019 Developing and Aspiring awards respectively.
The three East Asian Member Associations have made great strides in 2019 through competitive Continental matches, as well as programmes and initiatives to further spread the awareness of the game.
Chinese Football Association, Singapore Football Association and Brunei Darussalam were awarded The AFC President's Recognition Awards for Grassroots Football 2019.
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Inspiring category - Japan Football Association
Japan Football Association has experienced a highly successful year that began with a runners-up finish in the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 in January, which was followed up with outstanding performances in the AFC Beach Soccer Championship Thailand 2019, where Japan lifted their inaugural title.
Japan also displayed their dominance in the women’s age-group competitions, as the young and talented Nadeshiko dethroned DPR Korea for a record fourth AFC U-16 Championship title in September, before beating their East Asian rivals again at the AFC U-19 Championship in November to emerge champions for the sixth time.
Japan maintained their consistency in futsal, as the young Samurai Blue emerged winners of the AFC U-20 Futsal Championship Iran 2019. Nagoya Oceans, meanwhile, ousted AFC Futsal Club Championship title holders Mes Sungun Varzeqan, to be crowned as Asia’s best for the fourth time.
In Continental football club action, Urawa Red Diamonds came within reach of a third AFC Champions League triumph, losing to Saudi Arabia's Al Hilal SFC in the final.
Urawa's appearance in the final was the third consecutive year a club from Japan had made the decider.
Japan Football Association President Kohzo Tashima said: “Our staff and players are always working very hard. So I have to thank all of them who contributed to us winning this award. We have our mission to be world champions in the future and we are all committed towards achieving that goal.”
Developing category - Hong Kong Football Association LTD.
Over the past year, Hong Kong Football Association LTD. has invested heavily in youth competitions, introducing U-10 and U-11 competitions.
The number of special projects concentrating on social and grassroots development initiatives have also increased to develop the next generation of football players in Hong Kong.
HKFA's dedication to grow the game led to the National Football Training Centre being opened in March.
Hong Kong Football Association Ltd. President Timothy Fok said: “It is tremendous that Hong Kong won this award especially when the AFC Annual Awards is held in our country. This will be an inspiration to all of us to continue working hard and achieving better results for the sport.”
Aspiring category - Guam Football Association
Guam Football Association's determination to improve football earned it the AFC Member Association of the Year award in the Aspiring category.
One of GFA's initiatives includes the introduction of sport psychologists for the National team, as well as establishing professional training camps featuring services like football practice, strength and conditioning, sports psychology, dietetics and sports science.
GFA utilised football to reach the local community through quality recreational activities and elite programmes, which also the association an AFC Dream Asia award in October.
The promotion of the sport also encompasses women’s football with the establishment of the Mom’s League and Women’s Recreational League.
Guam Football Association President Valentino San Gil said: “There are no words that can describe receiving this award because it is so humbling that we have received this. We are motivated to ensure that football is played by everyone. That’s what drives us to continue improving and promoting the sport.”
AFC President's Recognition Awards for Grassroots Football 2019
Inspiring category - Chinese Football Association
The AFC President's Recognition Awards for Grassroots Football 2019 – Inspiring was awarded to the Chinese Football Association (CFA) for its exemplary efforts in developing the game.
CFA was the benchmark for grassroots development in Asia for the third consecutive year through its strong commitment to the AFC Grassroots Charter with evidence of growth in participation, investment and programmes.
Developing category - Football Association of Singapore
Football Association of Singapore (FAS) was awarded the AFC President's Recognition Awards for Grassroots Football 2019 - Developing, for its continuous efforts in grassroots development.
FAS has showcased a steady increase in the number of schools and players through its good mix of commercial, government and football industry partners and is working towards the Gold level by end 2020.
Football Association of Singapore Deputy President Bernard Tan said: “It is a great honour. I think it is a tribute to what we want to do in Singapore. We want everyone to play this wonderful sport which we all believe is a global game for all.”
Aspiring category - National Football Association of Brunei Darussalam
The AFC President's Recognition Awards for Grassroots Football 2019 – Aspiring was awarded to the National Football Association of Brunei Darussalam for its commitment to develop the game.
National Football Association of Brunei Darussalam President Pengiran Haji Matusin bin Pengiran Haji Matasan said: “This is indeed a very big surprise for our country. We are very grateful to AFC for acknowledging all our efforts. I must thank all our staff who have worked so hard to develop grassroots football.”
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