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Monday, 7 December 2009

Okazaki Named in Best 11

BarryBarry writes:

More good news to top off an excellent year for Shinji Okazaki; he was this evening named as one of the two best strikers in the country at the annual J. League awards.

Okachan shortly after banging in a hat-trick for Japan

The recognition comes at the end of his first full season as a starting member, and after netting 14 league goals. Including four league cup goals, he's at 18, with the remainder of the Emperor's Cup still to play. He's worked his way into the national team this year and is all set to head to South Africa next summer.

In the J. League best eleven for 2009, Okazaki is partnered up front by Jubilo forward, and league top scorer with 20 goals, Maeda. It's fitting to see Shizuoka leading the charge for the best 11 this year, but it's high time the orange machine claimed another title or two to ensure people don't forget where the heart of football lies in Japan!

For full details on the 2009 J. League awards, click here (in Japanese). For the official S-Pulse report, click here. In Japanese, but with plenty of pictures.

We also reprised last year's achievement of winning the award for the best pitch in the league. The people in charge always keep Nihondaira's surface in near perfect condition, so it's great to see their efforts rewarded for a second season running. The award this year was actually split three ways, with Urawa and Omiya's Saitama Stadium and Albirex Niigata's Big Swan also being rewarded.