High-scoring forward Hwang Ui-jo has been voted South Korea’s top male football player of the year, officials announced Tuesday.
The Korea Football Association (KFA) said Hwang, who helped South Korea to the gold medal at this year’s Asian Games, topped the voting by the media and the KFA’s election committee.
Hwang led all players at the Asian Games with nine goals in seven matches, as South Korea captured their second straight gold medal. Hwang, 26, was one of three overage players at the Asian Games, otherwise open only to players 23 or under.
|Hwang Ui-jo (Yonhap)|
The Gamba Osaka forward continued his success with the senior national team, netting three goals in six matches this year.
For his Japanese club, Hwang scored 21 goals in 34 matches in 2018.
“It’s great to cap off this year with such a big award,” Hwang said after receiving his trophy at a ceremony in Seoul. “I will try to play with a sense of responsibility and make sure our fans’ love for football will grow even bigger.”
Since 2011, national team mainstays Ki Sung-yueng and Son Heung-min had each won the award three times, with defender Kim Young-gwon winning once in 2015.
Defensive back Jang Sel-gi was voted the top female player of 2018. Jang scored 11 goals and set up seven others in 27 matches for Hyundai Steel Red Angels in the Women’s K League, helping the club win their sixth consecutive championship.
Jang was also a member of South Korea’s bronze medal-winning squad at the Asian Games.
Jang helped South Korea qualify for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France, and she’ll make her debut in the top tournament in women’s football next June.
“I am excited about my first World Cup, and we’ll try to do better than 2015 (when South Korea reached the round of 16),” Jang said. “The year 2018 was for men’s football. We’ll make 2019 the year for women’s football in the country.”
The three previous winners of the award also came from the Red Angels: midfielder Cho So-hyun (2015), goalkeeper Kim Jeong-mi (2016) and midfielder Lee Min-a (2017).
Kim Hak-bum, head coach of the Asian Games championship team, was named the top men’s coach of the year. The best women’s coach of the year honors went to Yu Yeong-sil, who guided Daeduk University to two major national titles.
The best young player awards went to Jeon Se-jin, who had a star turn at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-19 Championship, and Cho Mi-jin, striker on the women’s under-17 national team. (Yonhap)