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By ESPN Staff
Nov 16, 2011

Japan dominates Asian awards shortlist

Asia's football body says six players, including Japan's Shinji Kagawa and Keisuke Honda, are shortlisted for its coveted Player of the Year award.

Others in line for the award are Iranian defender Hadi Aghily, former winner Server Djeparov from Uzbekistan, Asian Cup top scorer Koo Ja-Cheol from South Korea and his fellow countryman Yeom Ki-Hun, the Asian Football Confederation said in a statement.

Shinji, who plays for German Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund, scored two goals against Qatar in the AFC Asian Cup this year.

The 22-year-old striker picked up an injury in the semi-final against South Korea and his team went on to win the cup, marking a record fourth continental title for Japan.

Honda emerged as Japan's key player at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, where the Blue Samurai reached the last 16 for their best ever result at the tournament.

He was also named the most valuable player at the Asian Cup in Doha in January.

Australia, the Asian Cup finalists had no players included for Asian football's top gong.

Socceroos defender Sasa Ognenovski won the title last year.

Japan will win the 2011 AFC Women's Player of the Year award with all three candidates being Japanese.

Homare Sawa could win another football honour after leading Japan to the Women's World Cup title this year.

She won the Golden Ball and Golden Boot during the FIFA Women's World Cup in Germany this year.

Sawa is shortlisted for the award together with goalkeeper Ayumi Kaihori and Aya Miyama.

The AFC award will be presented at a ceremony on November 23 in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur.

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