Junji Ogura (Getty)

(WFI) Junji Ogura, the former head of the Japanese FA and its 2022 World Cup bid, has been awarded Asian football’s highest individual accolade, the Diamond of Asia.

An AFC Executive Committee member since 1994, the former FIFA ExCo member and honorary president of the Japanese FA has served Asian football in various capacities.

Credited as one of Japan’s footballing pioneers, Ogura was elected as the 12th president of his nation’s FA in 2010. He served as the general secretary of Japan’s World Cup 2002 bidding committee, a global extravaganza which would come to be remembered as the “World Cup of Smiles”.

The same year saw Ogura become only the third Japanese official to be appointed to the FIFA Executive Committee, gaining further recognition for his contribution to Asian football.

Under Ogura’s leadership as JFA president, the Samurai Blue lifted their fourth AFC Asian Cup trophy in 2011 and Japan’s women’s national side also won the 2011 Women’s World Cup in Germany.

The AFC Diamond of Asia is the most prestigious AFC award bestowed upon
an individual for exemplary contribution towards the development and
promotion of football, on and off the field within the Asian continent.

Ogura is the tenth recipient of the AFC accolade after Saburo Kawabuchi (2005), Joseph S Blatter (2006), Lennart Johannson (2007), Ken Naganuma (posthumously; 2008), General Farouk Bouzo (2009), Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak (2010), HRH Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah (2011), Tan Sri Hamzah Haji Abu Samah (posthumously; 2012) and Dr. Chung Mong-joon (2013).

By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson

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