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Finnish awards for impressive trio

Tuesday 13 November 2012 13.22 CET
Richard Møller Nielsen collects the Captain's Ball in Helsinki

Finland national team captains Niklas Moisander and Maija Saari picked up the men's and women's player of the year gongs on Monday in a gala that included a special award for Richard Møller Nielsen.

Defender Moisander, 27, was recognised after cementing his reputation as a reliable presence for Finland, AZ Alkmaar and an AFC Ajax side he joined during the summer. Saari, who plies her trade with AIK Fotboll in Sweden, was pivotal in Finland's march to next summer's UEFA Women's EURO 2013 final tournament. That achievement also brought recognition for boss Andrée Jeglertz, who was named coach of the year.

Møller Nielsen was given the lifetime achievement award, the Captain's Ball, in Helsinki. It recognised the Dane's contribution in "giving Finland a vital lift on the international scene" and "raising the status of our domestic game" during his tenure as Finland coach from 1996 to 1999.

Now 75, the man who led Denmark to glory at the EURO '92, said: "I appreciate this recognition tremendously, especially as it involves a great player and professional like Jari Litmanen [head of the Captain's Ball committee]. I still follow Finnish football and the future looks bright."

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