Omar Khrbin and Samantha Kerr have been named as the top players in Asia at the glittering AFC Annual Awards held in Bangkok tonight.
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, in technical terms, in refereeing, in social responsibility. Women and men, boys and girls have made Asia proud through their dedication to football again this year, across the Continent.
“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 Women’s Player of the Year 2017 Kerr enjoyed a year to remember with both American National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) outfit Sky Blue FC and Australia. Named the NWSL’s Most Valuable Player after scoring 17 times for her club team, Kerr also scored four goals to help the Matildas overcome Brazil, the United States and Japan to claim the 2017 Tournament of Nations title.
AFC Women’s Player of the Year 2017 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 Player of the Year 2017 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.”
Yousuf Al Serkal of the United Arab Emirates was honoured with the Diamond of Asia 2017 award for his contribution to football, both in his home country and more widely across the Asian Continent.
Al Serkal has served for more than 25 years in various senior executive level positions in UAE, Asian and international football organisations, as well as other sporting bodies.
Accepting the award, Yousuf Al Serkal said: “I am very honoured and very thankful for receiving this award. I am the recipient of it but there are many other people who are the reason for my success.”
The winners of the AFC Annual Awards 2017 are:
AFC Diamond of Asia: Yousuf Al Serkal (UAE)
AFC Dream Asia Award: Japan Football Association
AFC Member Association of the Year
- Inspiring: Football Federation Islamic Republic of Iran
- Developing: Vietnam Football Federation
- Aspiring: Afghanistan Football Federation
AFC President Recognition Award for Grassroots Football
- Inspiring Member Association: Chinese Football Association
- Developing Member Association: Football Association of Singapore
- Aspiring Member Association: Bhutan Football Federation
AFC Futsal Player of the Year: Aliasghar Hasanzadeh (IRN)
AFC Coach of the Year
- Women: Asako Takakura (JPN)
- Men: Takafumi Hori (JPN)
AFC Women’s Player of the Year: Samantha Kerr (AUS)
AFC Player of the Year: Omar Khrbin (SYR)
Awards not presented in Bangkok:
AFC Referees Special Award: Bakhtiyor Namazov (UZB)
AFC Youth Player of the Year
- Women: Sung Hyang-sim (PRK)
- Men: Lee Seung-woo (KOR)
AFC Asian International Player of the Year: Son Heung-min (KOR)