Dec 2 – United Arab Emirates playmaker Omar Abdulrahman’s disappointment at failing to win the Asian Champions League with Al Ain last weekend was tempered when he was named the continent’s best player on Thursday night.
Abdulrahman’s club were beaten 3-2 on aggregate by South Korea’s Jeonbuk Motors with the midfielder nonetheless named the tournament’s most valuable player.
The 25-year-old went one better on Thursday in Abu Dhabi when he was won Asia’s Player of the Year award ahead of Iraq and Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya striker Hammadi Ahmed and China and Shanghai SIPG forward Wu Lei.
“It is a great achievement to have been given this honour,” the UAE international told reporters.
“Despite this I did not win the AFC Champions League title so this is what I am hoping to achieve next year.
“My aim is to also win the AFC Player of the Year for another time.”
Abdulrahman, known as Amoory by the club’s fans, was on the short list for the award last year but was pipped by compatriot Ahmed Khalil.
Apart from his club performances, he has also inspired the UAE into the final round of Asian qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Abdulrahman is known for his silky skills, in particular a left foot that has proved capable of unlocking the tightest of defences.
Australia winger Cailtin Foord was named the best female player in the region, beating out team mate Lisa De Vanna and China’s Tan Ruyin.
“I wasn’t expecting this,” the Sydney FC forward said. “I feel very honoured and I’m happy to be taking this award back to Australia. This is for the national team, anyone of whom could easily have been here.”
Japan’s Shinji Okazaki, who plays for English champions Leicester City, was named the AFC’s International Player of the Year.