November 19 – The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has unveiled the nominees for its annual awards with Japan dominating the nomination lists after what has been an outstanding year at club and international level for the county.
This year’s award winners will be announced at a gala event in Oman 2018 on Wednesday, November 28.
Two of Japan’s Kashima Antlers Champions League winning team – Yuma Suzuki and Kento Misao – are on the final list of three with Abdelkarim Hassan from Qatar’s Al Sadd for the men’s award.
At just 22-years-old, Suzuki is a product of the Kashima youth system, and distinguished himself with his all-round play and work rate this season, scoring twice in the AFC Champions League being named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.
Misao, also 22, was the rock in Kashima’s midfield, breaking down the opposition’s threat with an impressive tackle success rate of 70.8%.
The Japanese pair are up against Qatari international Hassan, a central defender and a towering figure in Al Sadd’s march to the 2018 AFC Champions League semi-finals.
In the women’s category, Australia’s Samantha Kerr I looking for a second consecutive award after the Perth Glory forward guided the Matildas to a second-place finish at the AFC Women’s Asian Cup Jordan 2018 in April.
Kerr has scored 27 goals in 72 appearances, but is up against China PR’s emerging Wang Shuang whose four goals in Jordan helped the Steel Roses finish third at the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2018. Wang’s impressive performances for Dalian Quanjian have prompted a move to Europe and French giants Paris Saint-Germain who offered the 23-year-old a two-year contract in August.
Also playing in Europe is third nominee Saki Kumagai. Japan’s captain who led her country to their second AFC Women’s Asian Cup title in Amman, plays at Olympique Lyonnais and along with Kerr was nominated for the Best FIFA Football Awards in July.
Kumagai scored the winning penalty in Japan’s 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup triumph, and has now notched up 100 caps for her country.
The nominees for the AFC Annual Awards Oman 2018 are:
AFC Player of the Year (Men)
Kento Misao (Kashima Antlers and JPN)
Yuma Suzuki (Kashima Antlers and JPN)
Abdelkarim Hassan (Al Sadd and QAT)
AFC Player of the Year (Women)
Samantha Kerr (AUS)
Wang Shuang (CHN)
Saki Kumagai (JPN)
AFC Futsal Player of the Year
Ali Asghar Hasanzadeh (IRN)
Mahdi Javid (IRN)
Henmi Katsutoshi (JPN)
AFC Youth Player of the Year (Women)
Fuka Nagano (JPN)
Moeka Minami (JPN)
Saori Takarada (JPN)
AFC Youth Player of the Year (Men)
Jun Nishikawa (JPN)
Jeon Se-jin (KOR)
Turki Al Ammar (KSA)
AFC Coach of the Year (Women)
Asako Takakura (JPN)
Miyo Okamoto (JPN)
Nuengrutai Srathongvian (THA)
AFC Coach of the Year (Men)
Basim Hamdan (IRQ)
Go Oiwa (JPN)
Ravshan Khaydarov (UZB)
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