Hammadi Ahmed, Wu Lei and Omar Abdulrahman aired their thoughts ahead of AFC Awards, where the trio are vying for the Player of the Year Award.
Ahmed was simply outstanding for Air Force Club this season, in particular during the AFC Cup where his 16 goals helped lead his side to their first title. Incredibly, the Iraqi scored in every game of the competition bar the first leg of the semi-final.
“Being here among the top three players in Asia is an achievement in itself,” said the 27-year-old.
“I have worked hard to be here. The statistics play a key part in winning this award. I think my continental achievement this year – winning the AFC Cup, top scorer and MVP awards speak for themselves.”
“Our situation is Iraq is very difficult. We have to accept this reality, but at the same time, our hearts are with our people. We will do our best to bring happiness when we play.”
Meanwhile, Shanghai SIPG stalwart Lu helped his side to the quarter-finals of the AFC Cup. After making his debut for the club at the tender age of 14 – the youngest player to start in a professional Chinese Football match – being nominated for the AFC Player of the Year is somewhat of a boyhood dream come true.
“For every player, not just for me, it is a dream just to be nominated for this prestigious award,” said Wu, who has amassed, a club record, 144 goals for Shanghai SIPG.
“This is something I have been dreaming about since I was a young boy. I am very happy and honoured to be regarded as one of Asia’s best players this year. Undoubtedly, as long as you are nominated, it proves your ability and of course, I hope to win this award.”
Finally, Al Ain’s Abdulrahman, who was named the Most Valuable Player of the AFC Champions League, echoed similar sentiments.
“It is every footballer’s dream to be crowned Asia’s best player and I feel delighted that I have been selected as one of the nominees,” said the 25-year-old midfielder.
“I hope that I can win the AFC Player of the Year 2016 because it will certainly amplify my drive and dedication for the club and national team in upcoming competitions.”