November 9 – The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has unveiled the final three nominees for this year’s women’s and men’s AFC Player of the Year Awards. China leads the list with male and female nominees, while Australia has two women players nominated in the final three.
Following on from last year’s glittering gala event in New Delhi, India, the 2016 celebration of the AFC’s best will be held Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates, on December 1
The final nominees are:
Women : Caitlin Foord (AUS), Lisa De Vanna (AUS), Tan Ruyin (CHN)
Men: Omar Abdulrahman (UAE), Hammadi Ahmed Aldeeaa (IRQ), Wu Lei (CHN)
The men’s line-up is interesting as it recognises the development of players outside of the traditional AFC powerhouse nations of Japan, South Korea and Australia.
UAE and Al Ain midfielder Omar Abdulrahman has been a player to watch all season having led the UAE to the third round of the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 Asian Qualifiers and his club Al Ain to this season’s AFC Champions League final.
China’s Wu Lei is the all-time top goal-scorer for his club, Shanghai SIPG, with 114 goals and holds the record for being the youngest person to have played in a professional Chinese football match aged just 14 years and 287 days. Wu won the Chinese Super League Golden Boot this year, his fourth time.
Iraqi Hammadi Ahmed Aldeeaa made the cut for the last three after a series of outstanding performances for Air Force Club who won the just completed AFC Cup in which he was both top scorer and Most Valuable Player.
In the women’s nominations, Caitlin Foord is the youngest ever Australian to play for the Matildas at a FIFA World Cup, having played in Germany at the age of 16 years and 230 days. She was named the first ever Best Young Footballer at the tournament and was part of the Matildas squad at the Olympic Games in Rio.
Australia’s captain Lisa de Vanna played in the Olympics for the second time this year, having competed at the 2004 Athens Olympics where Australia finished 5th. She has made over 100 appearances for her national side including three FIFA World Cups and two AFC Asian Cups.
China’s Tan Ruyin will be remembered for her stunning 40-yard goal against South Africa at the Olympic games in Rio this summer. She has made ten appearances at FIFA tournaments, with her debut at the FIFA U- 20 Women’s World Cup Canada 2014.
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