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[JAPAN SPORTS NOTEBOOK] Hajime Moriyasu Selected as AFC's 2022 Coach of the Year

In recognition for leading Japan to victories over previous World Cup champions Spain and Germany in 2022, Hajime Moriyasu received the prestigious honor.



Hajime Moriyasu
Hajime Moriyasu became the Japan men's soccer national team manager in 2018. (ⒸSANKEI)

Read the full story on SportsLook - [JAPAN SPORTS NOTEBOOK] Hajime Moriyasu Selected as AFC's 2022 Coach of the Year

Hajime Moriyasu is the Asian Football Confederation's 2022 Men's Coach of the Year.

The Samurai Blue boss received the honor at the AFC's annual awards ceremony on Tuesday, October 31 in Doha, Qatar.

Moriyasu garnered consideration for the award based on the Japan men's national soccer team's accomplishments at the sport's biggest competition. He led the Samurai Blue to a pair of 2-1 victories over former World Cup champions Germany and Spain at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar on November 23 and December 1.

Croatia eliminated Japan on penalties in the round of 16 on December 5, 2022. 

Although Japan fell short of its goal of reaching the World Cup quarterfinals for the first time, it did advance to the round of 16 for the second consecutive time.

"I am very pleased to receive this award but at the same time, I must stress that this is a tribute to all my backroom staff, to my players," Moriyasu said at the awards ceremony. "Everything we accomplished on the pitch is a result of all the hard work of my players and my staff and I dedicate this award to them."

Japan is currently ranked No 18 in the latest world rankings. 

With Moriyasu leading the squad, Japan has cobbled together a six-game winning streak in international friendlies.


Up next: The Samurai Blue face Myanmar in the second round of World Cup Asian qualifiers on November 16 at Panasonic Stadium Suita in Osaka Prefecture. After that, Japan travels to face Syria in another qualifier on November 21 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Hajime Moriyasu
Japan manager Hajime Moriyasu in a December 2022 file photo. (Carl Recine/REUTERS)


Hajima Moriyasu Stays in Charge

Moriyasu, a former Sanfrecce Hiroshima and Japan Under-23 national team manager, has led the Samurai Blue since 2018, replacing Akira Nishino after that year's FIFA World Cup in Russia.

In December 2022, the Japan Football Association announced it would give Moriyasu a contract extension through the 2026 World Cup.

As a result, Moriyasu is seeking to bolster the team's overall foundation. A 4-1 away victory over Germany on September 9 in Wolfsburg in an international friendly provided a solid measuring stick for the team.

But Moriyasu refuses to be satisfied after any match. For instance, after facing Germany, he told reporters: "We need to be more compact, everyone must defend, everyone needs to attack, we need to react dynamically," Agence France-Presse reported.

The 55-year-old mentor also offered this critique of his squad: "We need to not only congratulate ourselves, but we need to continue our development. There are more teams, more challenges, so in this sense, we have many more tasks."

In other words, continuous improvement is a foundational goal, one that played a part in Moriyasu earning the AFC Coach of the Year award.

Continue reading the full story, which includes news items on Shohei Ohtani, basketball's East Asia Super League and more, on SportsLook.

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Author: Ed Odeven


Find Ed on JAPAN Forward's dedicated website, SportsLook. Follow his [Japan Sports Notebook] on Sundays, [Odds and Evens] during the week, and X (formerly Twitter) @ed_odeven

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