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Kewell, Hong, Daei among AFC's first Hall of Fame inductees

Australia's Harry Kewell celebrates after scoring against Uzbekistan during their 2011 Asian Cup semi-final soccer match at Khalifa stadium in Doha January 25, 2011. REUTERS/Fadi Al-Assaad/Files

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Former South Korean defender and coach Hong Myung-bo, Iran’s Ali Daei and ex-Australian international Harry Kewell were among the first 10 players to be inducted into the Asian Football Confederations’ Hall of Fame on Friday.

Hong, frequently labelled Asia’s best defender, captained the Koreans to a fourth place finish at their home World Cup in 2002, one of four finals in which he played at, as he racked up 136 caps.

He had a less enjoyable experience at the World Cup earlier this year as head coach when the team bowed out at the group phase with only one point and he soon quit the post.

Former Bayern Munich striker Daei played 149 times for Iran and scored over 100 goals for his country, while Kewell, who was voted Australia’s greatest ever player, was inducted despite many of his best years coming before the Socceroos were permitted to join the AFC in 2006.

The trio were named alongside Iran’s Homayoun Behzadi, Soh Chin Aun of Malaysia, Japan’s Yasuhiko Okudera, Saudi Arabia’s Sami Al Jaber and Indian Baichung Bhutia in the inaugural list.

China’s Sun Wen, who scored 106 goals in 152 appearances for her country, and Japan’s World Cup winning skipper Homare Sawa were the two women named among the 10.

Reporting by Patrick Johnston; Editing by Peter Rutherford