Syrian striker Omar Khrbin was named the Asian Football Confederation's Player of the Year yesterday, after starring both for his club and for his war-ravaged country, whose attempt to qualify for the World Cup captured the hearts of the sporting world. Khrbin was selected ahead of last year's winner Omar Abdulrahman - Asia's hottest rising star - and skilful Chinese winger Wu Lei. The Syrian national team had failed to qualify for next year's World Cup after losing last month in agonising fashion by a single goal over two legs to Australia.
In the end, Korea Republic international Son proved irresistible as he continued to shine in the Premier League with Tottenham, while providing one of the defining moments of Russia when he raced half the field towards an unguarded goal to deliver the knockout blow to defending champions Germany. It was not just the fact that he won again but the manner in which he did that was most impressive, as he was voted first by 30 jurors and claimed an overall points, claiming a monumental lead over runner-up Makoto Hasebe 7 first-place votes; 64 points overall. He is doing well with his club Tottenham Hotspur and his national team Korea Republic, and received a Premier League milestone award for his th appearance.
The awards are presented at the end of each year at a special gala. The Asian Footballer of the Year award is presented to the best football player from Asia. Prior to it was awarded on an unofficial basis; the winners from to were chosen by IFFHS.
The South Koreans were brilliant as they reached the semi-finals, in a campaign that helped open doors for more Asians getting an opportunity in top European leagues. Park Ji-Sung remains one of the best Asians ever to have played in Europe, and his time at Manchester United was littered with trophies. However, there have been other Asian footballers who have done well in the big leagues in Europe, and here are the five best currently plying their trade in the continent.
Hasebe, currently with German first division side Eintracht Frankfurt, skippered the only Asian team to reach the knockout stage this year in Russia in his third World Cup as Samurai Blue captain. The year-old announced his retirement from international duties following Japan's defeat against Belgium in the round of 16 at the World Cup. Among other award recipients in the Omani capital, Kashima Antlers boss Go Oiwa was named men's Coach of the Year for leading his side to their first Asian Champions League title earlier this month.
I would like to thank the AFC. I want to thank all my teammates - both from my club and country," said the year-old Chinese midfielder. However, she expressed regret at not being able to do better in the Asian Games, in which China won silver and she was the tournament's second highest scorer with six goals.
For the first time, the nomination is open to all jurors. The juror panel is constituted by media representatives of nearly 40 AFC football associations and some Asian football experts of European football media outlets, bringing the total amount of jurors to 42 edition. Apart from players having sparkled in the AFC leagues and competitions, like the current AFC Player of the Year Abdelkarim Hassan, there are Asian players playing in non-AFC league that have showcased Asian football excellence to global fans, as well as non-AFC players contributing their talents and philosophy to improving the Asian game.
The left-back received the award at a ceremony in the Omani capital of Muscat after playing a key role in club side Al Sadd reaching the semifinals of the Asian Champions League this season. It is a great honour to be the second Qatari to win this award. Personally I did not expect to win, but this is a great source of pride for me and I am very thankful.
Hasebe, currently with German first-division side Eintracht Frankfurt, skippered the only Asian team to reach the knockout stage this year in Russia in his third World Cup as Samurai Blue captain. He made international appearances and led Japan to Asian Cup title in Hassan, a left-back played a key role in club side Al Sadd reaching the semifinals of the Asian Champions League this season.