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Tuesday, 10th January 2012
In Japan Sports News, Sports,

Homare Sawa wins the FIFA Women's World Player of the Year

The captain of Japan's women's football team Homare Sawa has won the title of FIFA Women's World Player of the Year 2011.

Ms Sawa was presented with her award by Latin American pop star Shakira in a glittering awards ceremony in Zurich, Switzerland.

Having captained her country as they won the World Cup last year, the 33-year-old footballer knocked the five-time Brazilian winner Marta off the top spot, receiving 28.5 per cent of the votes, the BBC reported.

The American Abby Wambach, who competed against Sawa in the World Cup Final in 2011, came in third place.

Sawa has enjoyed a stunning career to date, and having made her debut at the Women's World Cup back in 1995, last year was the first time she had been part of a team that lifted the trophy.

The 2011 season was possibly the best in her career, taking home the World Cup and also claiming the Golden Boot award for the five goals she scored as well as the Golden Ball in recognition of her decisive role in the tournament.

Norio Sasaki, coach of the Japanese women's senior team, described her as an "iconic figure".

"She perfectly symbolises the kind of football that our team tries to pull off. I’d like the whole world to learn about our football through Sawa, that's why she's our captain," he added.

Just six weeks after her side lifted the World Cup, the midfielder helped her side qualify for the London 2012 Olympics and now all that remains before she hangs up her boots as one final ambition, to take home a gold medal.

Having first made her debut for the national side at the age of 15, Sawa has featured in three Olympics tournaments and five FIFA Women's World Cups.

Claiming a gold medal in this year's Olympics would surely sign off her career as one of the most successful ever in the women's game.

Argentinean playmaker Lionel Messi, meanwhile, picked up the men's equivalent, the FIFA Ballon d'Or.

Written by Susan Ballion

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