AFC Annual Awards 2017 In Details
AFC Annual Awards 2017
Since its low key beginnings in 1994, the AFC Annual Awards Ceremony has come a long way and is now Asian football’s biggest and most highly anticipated annual event to recognise and honour the best talent and achievements on the continent.
The Annual Awards night brings together Asian fans, players and officials on a glittering platform to proudly showcase Asian champions for their contribution to the game.
These bright stars of Asia have rapidly gained popularity and fame and are now having a great impact in foreign leagues. Similarly, Asia continues to welcome stars from all parts of the world who contribute to making football in our region so exciting and progressive.
The Award Ceremony
After a historic 2017 which saw five AFC teams qualify for the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018, the Asian Football Confederation celebrated the best of the Continent’s football in a grand ceremony hosted by FA Thailand.
AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa said: “We are grateful to FA Thailand for providing such a fantastic setting here at Aksra Theatre for the highlight of the Asian football calendar, the AFC Annual Awards.
“Tonight, united under the banner of One Asia, One Goal, we are celebrating another year of Asian football development.
“Our Member Associations reflect Asia’s diversity and tonight’s winners have truly deserved their awards, crossing all obstacles as they have become role models for others to follow. We applaud the coaches and the players who have impressed and excited us this year. They have all played a part in making Asian football greater than ever before.”
AFC Player of the Year: Omar Khrbin
Syria International Omar Khrbin has been named the 2017 AFC Player of the Year for his impressive achievements with Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal in the AFC Champions League and spectacular performance in the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 Asian Qualifiers. Khrbin has performed heroics for both Syria and Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal this year.
Syria only exited the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 Asian Qualifiers following a play-off defeat to Australia, while Khrbin’s 10 goals – including a hat-trick against Persepolis in the semi-finals – helped Al Hilal reach the AFC Champions League final.
AFC Player of the Year 2017 Khrbin said: “This award is for the support of my teammates in Syria and Al Hilal, we promise to our fans to keep trying our best.”
AFC Women’s Player of the year: Samantha Kerr
Samantha Kerr became the third Australian in four years to claim the AFC Women’s Player of the Year award, capping an outstanding individual year for the star forward.
Kerr edged out Japanese captain Saki Kumagai and DPR Korea’s Sung Hyang-sim to claim the award for the first time, following a career-best year at both club and international level.
Nine international goals, including a hat-trick against Japan and doubles against Brazil and China PR, highlighted Kerr’s brilliant 2017, but just as impressive was her consistency, as she found net 34 times for club and country.
Kerr was awarded the Julie Dolan Medal as the outstanding player the Australian W-League in May, before joining Sky Blue FC in the American National Women’s Soccer League, where she scored 17 goals in 22 matches to claim the league’s official awards for top scorer and Most Valuable Player.
Kerr said: “Thank you to the AFC for this wonderful night. I would like to thank my support staff and my team, this would not have been possible without them.”
AFC Asian International Player of the Year: Son Heung Min
Korea Republic and Tottenham Hotspur forward Son Heung-min has been named the AFC Asian International Player of the Year after a spectacular year for both his country and the English Premier League club.
The 2016/17 season proved to be a stellar one for Son at club level, as he helped guide Tottenham to second spot in England’s top-flight. He scored 21 goals in all competitions for Spurs – including a hat-trick in his side’s FA Cup quarter-final win over Millwall – to become the highest-scoring South Korean player in a European season.
Son, a scorer in the 2015 AFC Asian Cup final, has also been an integral part of his nation’s FIFA World Cup 2018 qualification.
AFC Youth Player of the Year(Men): Lee Seungwoo
Hellas Verona’s Korea Republic midfielder Lee Seungwoo has been crowned AFC Youth Player of the Year 2017 following a string of standout performances for both club and country. Lee topped this year’s shortlist piping compatriot Paik Seungho and Islamic Republic of Iran’s Taha Shariati for the coveted prize.
The 19-year-old played an instrumental role in helping the Taeguk Warriors reach the Round of 16 at the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2017 in Korea Republic scoring two goals.
A product of Barcelona’s Youth Academy – La Masia, Lee established himself as one of the academy’s top talents during the seven seasons (2011-2017) he spent with the Catalan club.
The talented winger notched 13 goals in 18 appearances for his nation’s U-17, while at U-20 level, Lee has scored seven goals in 16 appearances.
AFC Youth Player of the Year(Women): Sung Hyang Sim
DPR Korea’s Sung Hyang Sim was named the AFC Youth Player of the Year after her spectacular performance in the AFC Women’s U-19 Championship and AFC Women’s Asian Cup Jordan 2018 Qualifiers. Sung fended off compatriot Kim Kyong-yong and Japan’s Hinata Miyazawa to be DPR Korea’s first woman AFC Youth Player Award winner.
The 18-year-old first donned the DPR Korea jersey in 2013 for the AFC U-14 Regional Championships where she featured from the group stages to the final. Sung scored a crucial goal against China PR in the final, to push the game into a penalty shootout. Despite losing 6-5 on penalties to China, Sung was a star in the making, as she scored in every appearance.
The AFC Youth Player of the Year award marks yet another achievement in her young football career, but this is only the beginning of more to come from Sung Hyang Sim.
AFC Futsal Player of the Year(Men): Aliasghar Hasanzadeh
Islamic Republic of Iran’s Aliasghar Hasanzadeh has been named the AFC Futsal Player of the Year for the third time, ahead of compatriot Touhid Lotfi and Thailand’s forward Jirawat Sornwichian. After receiving the award in 2014 and 2016, the 30-year-old from Qom joins the ranks of compatriot Vahid Shamsaei, who also won the accolade thrice in 2007, 2008 and 2015.
“I am glad to get this award three consecutive times and of course, I got this award on behalf of all Iranian futsal players and I’m happy to be here. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all managers, coaches and teammates in the club and national team and special thanks to my parents and family for supporting me all the time.
AFC Men’s Coach of the Year: Takafumi Hori
Urawa Red Diamonds Head Coach Takafumi Hori was named the AFC Men’s Coach of the Year at the AFC Annual Awards 2017 in Bangkok on Wednesday, ahead of Australia’s Ange Postecoglou and compatriot Ishii Masatada.
Takafumi, who turned 50 in September, has coached the Urawa Reds since 2011 and under his leadership, they won the AFC Champions League 2017 on Sunday after beating Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal 2-1 on aggregate for a second continental title.
“On behalf of Japan Football Association, I want to thank all our Asian fans. In our league, our local coaches are very inspired with this accolade,” said Kozo Tashima, the President of Japan Football Association, on behalf of Hori.
AFC Women’s Coach of the Year: Asako Takakura
Japan’s Asako Takakura has been named the AFC Women’s Coach of the Year for a historic fifth time at the AFC Annual Awards 2017 in Bangkok. Takakura, who won the award in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015, made headlines when she became the first ever female coach for the Japanese women’s national team last year as a successor to Norio Sasaki.
Her stellar work with the U-16 side in 2014 saw Japan beat Spain 2-0 for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, and the team followed that up with a third place finish in the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup France 2016.
“I would like to thank the players, my family, Japan Football Association and AFC. Everybody supported us, without this support we couldn’t have achieved this goal,” said Takakura.
AFC President Recoginition Award for Grassroots: China, Singapore, Bhutan
The Chinese Football Association (CFA), Football Association of Singapore (FAS) and Bhutan Football Federation (BFF) received the AFC President Recognition Awards for Grassroots Football at the AFC Annual Awards 2017. The award recognises Member Associations (MAs) for their efforts in promoting grassroots football, and the criteria include assessing the MAs’ grassroots partnerships with various external organisations, as well as their technical programmes such as courses, workshops and talent identification.
AFC inspiring Member Association of the Year: Iran
Football Federation Islamic Republic of Iran, which has enjoyed a dynamic and fruitful year, was named the AFC Inspiring Member Associations of the Year winner at the AFC Annual Awards 2017 in the Aksra Theatre King Power. In their road to the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 campaign, Iran were the first Asian nation to qualify in June, while Persepolis reached the semi-finals of the AFC Champions League 2017.
“I’m grateful to be awarded by the AFC as the best federation in Asia. We have qualified for five different World Cups. I thank AFC for this,” said Football Federation Islamic Republic of Iran President Mehdi Taj.
AFC Developing Member Association of the Year: Vietnam
Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) clinched the AFC Developing Member Associations of the Year award at the AFC Annual Awards 2017 ceremony.
The VFF had actively hosted different AFC Competitions throughout the year, including the AFC Futsal Club Championship and the ASEAN Football Federation Futsal Championship.
AFC Aspiring Member Association of the Year: Afghanistan
Afghanistan Football Federation (AFF) has won the AFC Developing Member Associations of the Year award at the AFC Annual Awards 2017. The AFC’s Member Associations are divided into three categories namely ‘Inspiring’, ’Developing’ and ‘Aspiring’ based on their overall footballing prowess.
Member Associations are assessed and awarded points on various areas encompassing the association’s activities such as the organisation of courses and seminars, competitions, grassroots and youth development, women’s programmes, social responsibility and special projects. Points are also given for an MA’s hosting of AFC qualifying and finals tournaments as well as their national and club teams’ placing in AFC and FIFA competitions throughout the year.
“We are so happy and honoured to be awarded by the AFC. It is a good day for the Afghanistan people,” said Afghanistan Football Federation President Keramuddin Keram.
AFC Dream Asia 2017: Japan
The AFC Dream Asia Award was presented to Japan Football Association (JFA) at the AFC Annual Awards 2017. JFA claimed this year’s social responsibility award ahead of Chinese Football Association and Football Association of Singapore, which also had exceptional programmes.
The award is given to an outstanding Member Association (MA) in recognition for and appreciation of its social development work through football, and the JFA has been an exemplary MA for initiating meaningful and impactful social responsibility programmes in 2017.
AFC Diamond of Asia Award: Yousuf Al Serkal
The AFC Diamond of Asia Award 2017 was presented to Yousuf Al Serkal of the United Arab Emirates for his faithful servitude of more than 25 years to Asian football. Al Serkal has spent more than 25 years in various senior executive level positions in the UAE, Asian and International football organisations as well as other sporting bodies.
He was recently appointed President of General Authority for Youth and Sports by the UAE Government. Al Serkal is certainly worthy of joining the illustrious list of previous recipients of the Diamond of Asia Award.