United Arab Emirates’ Ahmed Khalil walked away with the Player of the Year award in a glittering AFC Awards ceremony here on Sunday. The 24-year-old forward beat his national team-mate Omar Abdul Rahman and China captain Zheng Zhi for the coveted trophy.
Australia and Japan won the National Team of the Year in the men’s and women’s category, respectively.
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) acknowledged the continent’s best players, officials and administrators during the high profile gathering which also saw colourful performances by Indian artists of the Zangoora group at the Kingdom of Dreams.
We want to give football a big push forward in India: Praful Patel
Speaking at the event, All India Football Federation (AIFF) President Praful Patel said India could be on the verge of making a big stride in football with some top flight international competitions coming up in the near future.
“We are hosting the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in 2017 and then the Indian Super League in its inaugural year last season instantly became the fourth most watched tournament in the world with a viwership of 275 million. You can well imagine the possibilty of the development of the game in this country. We want to give a big push forward,” he said in front of the who’s who of Asian football.
No Indians among the awardees
AFC President Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al Khalifa also spoke about India’s huge potential in the sport.
“India’s potential in the sport is extremely high. India is hosting the AFC Under-16 Championships next year and then the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in 2017. It can play a big role in the sport,” he said.
However, none of the Indians or any Indian entity won any award in the event held for the first time in the country.
Full List of Winners:
AFC Member Association of the Year:
Inspiring category: Japan Football Association
Developing category: Hong Kong Football Association
Aspiring category: Bangladesh Football Federation
AFC Dream Asia Award:-
Chinese Football Association
Japan Football Association
Vietnam Football Federation
AFC National Team of the Year:-
Men: Australia National Team
Women: Japan Women’s National Team
AFC Coach of the Year:-
Men: Ange Postecoglou (Aus)
Women: Asako Takakura (JPN)
AFC Player of the Year:-
Men: Ahmed Khalil (UAE)
Women: To be announced at a later date
AFC President Recognition Awards for Grassroots Football
Inspiring Category: Japan
Developing Category: Vietnam
Aspiring Category: Brunei Darussalam
AFC Fair Play Association of the Year: Japan Football Association
AFC Club of the Year: Guangzhou Evergrande (CHN)
AFC Futsal Player of the Year: Vahid Shamsaee (IRN)
AFC Futsal Team of the Year: Tasisat Daryaei (IRN)
AFC Youth Player of the Year:-
Men: Dostonbek Khamdamov (UZB)
Women: Rikako Kobayashi (JPN)
AFC Foreign Player of the Year: Ricardo Goulart Pereira (BRA)
AFC Asian International Player of the Year: Son Heung-min
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