Server Djeparov named Asian Player of the Year

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Uzbekistan midfielder Server Djeparov was named 2008 Asian Player of the Year by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) on a night which saw Japan scoop four of 13 categories available.

The 26-year-old took the top honour ahead of Japanese stars Yasuhito Endo and Yuji Nakazawa.

Djeparov considered to be the frontrunner after being voted most valuable player in this year's AFC Champions League, leading his club Kuruvchi into the semi-finals of the competition under famed Brazilian coach Zico.

Meanwhile, AFC Champions League winners Gamba Osaka won the AFC Club Team of the Year, with long-serving coach Akira Nishino winning the AFC Coach of the Year.

Japan also won the AFC Fair Play Association of the Year while late Ken Naganuma, who died of pneumonia in June aged 77, was handed the AFC Diamond of Asia for his services to football.

Naganuma was a former coach of the Japanese national team who led them to the 1968 Olympic bronze medal, while as a top level administrator he was one of the driving forces behind the creation of the J.League, considered as Asia's finest domestic competition.

Japan's impressive 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign contributed to the Blue Samurai winning AFC National Team of the Year, adding to the Asian women's player of the year award that Homare Sawa won at a separate ceremony last week.

United Arab Emirate's Ahmed Kalil was named AFC Youth Player of the Year, the first Gulf player to win the award since 1995.

AFC Annual Awards 2008 list of winners:

AFC Diamond of Asia: Ken Naganuma (Japan)
AFC Youth Player of the Year: Ahmed Khalil (UAE)
AFC Futsal Player of the Year: Vahid Shamsaee (Iran)
AFC Coach of the Year: Akira Nishino (Japan)
AFC Assistant Referee of the Year: Tammam Hamdoun (Syria)
AFC Referee of the Year: Ravshan Irmatov (Uzbekistan)
AFC Match Commissioner of the Year: Kamarudin Sakhari (Malaysia)
AFC Fair Play Association of the Year: Japan
AFC Association of the Year: Iran
AFC Futsal Team of the Year: Iran
AFC Club Team of the Year: Gamba Osaka (Japan)
AFC National Team of the Year: Japan
AFC Player of the Year: Server Djeparov (Uzbekistan)

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