Abdulrahman the big winner at AFC Annual Awards

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The AFC Annual Awards 2016 ceremony took place in Abu Dhabi on Thursday night, where Al Ain’s Omar Abdulrahman headlined the list of big winners.

Coach of the Year, Men & Women

Nominees (men):
Choi Kang-hee (Korea Republic)
Makoto Teguramori (Japan)
Atsushi Uchiyama (Japan)

Winner (men): Choi Kang-hee


No surprises here as Choi is honoured for taking Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors all the way to AFC Champions League glory. The 57-year-old has a long and successful history with Jeonbuk, having also been at the helm when they tasted continental success in 2006.

“I really don’t think it would have been possible to win this Coach of the Year award with the support of the Jeonbuk fans, especially those who came to the AFC Champions League second leg in Al Ain,” Choi told the-afc.com.

“Like them, I was extremely happy to win the ACL title and I really appreciate their support. I also greatly appreciate the players who worked very hard to reach the final.

“This truly has been a very memorable and special year for me.”

Nominees (women):
Chan Yuen-ting (Hong Kong)
Miyo Okamoto (Japan)
Ri Un-suk (DPR Korea)

Winner (women): Chan Yuen-ting

Congratulations to Chan, who made headlines this year by becoming the first-ever female coach to lead a professional men’s team to a top-flight championship, with Eastern Sports Club winning both the Hong Kong Premier League and Senior Challenge Shield titles with her at the helm.

“This award is a surprise because I never thought the day would come when I’d be here,” Chan told the-afc.com.

“The other nominees were also very good and outstanding in (terms of) women’s coaching. When I received the letter inviting me to the event gala, I didn’t think that I’d win.

“I want to dedicate this trophy to my football club. It feels amazing for a female coach to be working in a men’s team, so I want to thank Eastern Football Club for giving me this chance and trust, and also to the staff and players.”

AFC Player of the year Men & Women

Nominees (men):
Omar Adbulrahman (United Arab Emirates)
Hammadi Ahmed (Iraq)
Wu Lei (China PR)

Winner (men): Omar Abdulrahman

Al Ain and United Arab Emirates star Omar Abdulrahman walks away with the evening’s biggest honour for the players.

It’s been a hugely successful season for the 25-year-old, who guided his club Al Ain all the way to the AFC Champions League final, even though they came up just short against Jeonbuk.

The midfielder, affectionately known as ‘Amoory’ by his fans, is also playing a pivotal role in bringing the United Arab Emirates to the brink of 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification.

“I would like to thank the people of the United Arab Emirates, this achievement is a national achievement,” said Abdulrahman. “This award is for the UAE national team and Al Ain. It is the second year in a row that the award goes to a player from the UAE, it’s proof that we have talented players.”

Nominees (women):
Lisa De Vanna (Australia)
Caitlin Foord (Australia)
Tan Ruyin (China PR)

Winner (women): Caitlin Foord

Australia international Foord was honoured for consistent performances during her country’s Olympic Games campaign in Brazil.

She also won the AFC Women’s Youth Player of the Year award in 2011.

“I would like to congratulate the other nominees, Lisa and Tan, for an amazing year,” said Foord. “I wasn’t expecting this, thank you to the AFC and congratulations to everyone in Abu Dhabi for hosting this wonderful event. I accept this award on behalf of all the Matildas.”

AFC Asian International Player of the Year

Shinji Okazaki (Leicester City, Japan)
Shinji Kagawa (Borussia Dortmund, Japan)
Son Heung-min (Tottenham Hotspur, Korea Republic)

Winner: Shinji Okazaki

Shinji Okazaki

Shinji Okazaki was honoured for his helping Leicester City to their incredible 5000/1 Premier League title-winning campaign.

While compatriot Shinji Kagawa (Borussia Dortmund) and Korea Republic ace Son Heung-min (Tottenham Hotspur) both made strong cases for the award, nothing could top Okazaki’s invaluable role in Leicester’s fairytale victory.

The 30-year-old striker was frequently singled out for praise by manager Claudio Ranieri, with his hard work and dedication typifying the nature of Leicester’s stellar performances throughout the 2015/16 season.

Okazaki has also been a pivotal figure for Japan in their bid for World Cup qualification, scoring four goals to leave his country in a solid position in the ongoing third round of qualifying.

Developing federation of the year

All India Football Federation
Football Association of Malaysia
Vietnam Football Federation

Winner: All India Football Federation

The AIFF was recognised for its “professional administration and governance as well its exceptional contribution to the development and promotion of the game at all levels within the country”.

Aspiring federation of the year

Bhutan Football Federation
Football Federation of Cambodia
Football Federation of Sri Lanka

Winner: Bhutan Football Federation

The nation of Bhutan bagged this honour in 2016, which is given to a Member Association “in recognition of its professional administration and governance as well its exceptional contribution to the development and promotion of the game at all levels within the country”.

Inspiring federation of the year

Japan Football Association
Korea Football Association
United Arab Emirates Football Association

Winner: Japan

Japan fans

This prestigious award is given to a Member Association “in recognition of its professional administration and governance as well its exceptional contribution to the development and promotion of the game at all levels within the country”, and the Japan Football Association met all the necessary criteria this year.

Other winners

AFC Youth Player of the Year (Men): Ritsu Doan

AFC Youth Player of Year (Women): Fuka Nagano

AFC Futsal Player of the Year 2016: Aliasghar Hasanzadeh

AFC Dream Asia: Qatar

AFC Diamond of Asia: Issa Hayatou