Shinji Kagawa

Shinji Kagawa

In regional football news, 

Shinji Kagawa has won the Asian Football Confederation's first ever, 'International Player of the Year' award. 

At last night's ceremony in Kuala Lumpur, Shinji beat his Japanese international team-mate Yuto Nagatomo of Inter Milan and Fulham's Australian goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, to lift the coveted trophy. 

The 23 year old Manchester United midfielder who's currently injured, played a major role last season when his former club Borussia Dortmund won the German Bundesliga title. 

Meanwhile, 

South Korean winger Lee Keun-ho is the 2012 AFC Player of the Year, and that's due to his fine performances for Ulsan Hyundai, which recently won the Asian Champions 
League title. 

Keun-ho edged out Iranian midfielder Ali Karimi and Chinese defender Zheng Zhi, to become the first Korean to win the award for players competing in Asia. 


Still on football, 

Luiz Felipe Scolari has been appointed as the national coach of Brazil for a 2nd time. 

The 64 year old has been tasked to the lead his country when they host the World Cup in 2014. 

He replaces Mano Menezes who was sacked last week. 

As the former Chelsea and Portugal manager, Scolari last coached Brazil in the 2002 World Cup campaign. 

And his first game in charge this time round is scheduled to be a friendly away to England in February. 

He'll also be assisted by former national coach Carlos Alberto Parreira, who's been named as technical director. 

The Samba Kings have not been able to advance beyond the quarterfinals in the last 2 World Cup campaigns. 


Over to local football news, 

The inaugural Singapore America Soccer Exchange is set to kickoff next week at the Jalan Besar Stadium. 

4 former U.S. women's national players will conduct week-long clinics for girls aged 12 to 18, as part of the youth sports exchange initiative. 

The program is organized by the U.S. Embassy in Singapore, in collaboration with its local partner, the FAS and the International Center in the United States. 

The exchange will also include a football clinic with the Special Olympics Singapore athletes to work with the American coaches.

And wrapping up with tennis, 

Serena Williams is the WTA Tour's 'Player of the Year' for the 4th time. 

And that's after winning Wimbledon, the US Open and Olympic gold in the last 11 months. 

Having previously won the WTA award in 2002, '08 and '09 Serena ended her year after recently winning the WTA Tour Championships in Istanbul, by beating Maria Sharapova 6-4 6-3 in the final. 

The 31 year old finished the season 3rd in the world rankings behind Victoria Azarenka and Sharapova. 

But the American could regain the world number 1 ranking for the first time since October 2010, if she wins the Australian Open in January.