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Uzbek midfielder Djeparov named Asian Player of the Year

Bunyodkor/Kuruvchi and Uzbekistan midfielder Server Djeparov has been crowned the Asian Player of the Year. At the Asian Football Confederation awards held in Shanghai, Djeparov beat four other nominated players to win the award.

Japan and Gamba Osaka's Yasuhito Endo who was favourite to take out the prize was runner-up.

Djeparov was stunned when he was named the winner.

"It is so surprising to receive this trophy," he said.

"Uzbekistan has seen positive changes in the development of football in recent years. The government has done its best to help football.

"Winning this trophy will have a positive affect on the future of Uzbeki football and its image in Asia and the world."

On the back of its Asian Champions League success, Japanese outfit Gamba Osaka took out best club of 2008 whilst coach Akira Nishino was voted Coach of the Year.

Japan almost made it a clean sweep when they won the national team of the year as well.

Gamba coach Nishino didn't want to take all the credit for his award.

"It is incredible," said the 53-year-old. "Thank you to my team, they are wonderful players.

"The J.League is of course very important but for Gamba we want to make a stand in Asia.

"The AFC Champions League was the biggest victory in our history, we did our best and fortunately we were there to win the trophy."

Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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