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Tokyo: The prodigiously talented Fuka Nagano received her 2016 AFC Youth Player of the Year award at a ceremony in Tokyo on Friday.

Japan captain Nagano fended off competition from DPR Korea’s Sung Hyang-sim and compatriot Hana Takahashi to be named the AFC Youth Player of the Year following her sterling efforts at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Jordan 2016.

Japan Football Association President Kohzo Tashima presented Nagano with the award during her high school graduation ceremony. The 18-year-old said: "I feel really happy that I won this prestigious AFC award.

"Although I was a little nervous receiving it in the presence of my schoolmates, I appreciate my family and all the people who have supported my football life on this occasion.

"I will continue making an effort everyday as a football player."

Already viewed by many as a star of the future when she was a part of Japan’s 2014 winning team at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica, Nagano was to be an ever-present in her country’s midfield as Naoki Kusunose’s side reached the competition’s 2016 final in Amman.

Despite eventually losing on penalties to regional rivals DPR Korea - and having become the first player to appear in two FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cups - Nagano’s superb performances in Jordan saw her win the competition’s Golden Ball - the Most Valuable Player of the tournament - award.

Photo: JFA

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