Khalil named Asian football player of the year
GURGAON, India (AP) — Ahmed Khalil of the United Arab Emirates was named the Asian player of the year Sunday at the AFC’s annual awards function.
The 24-year-old forward, who plays for Al-Ahli, beat compatriot Omar Abdulrahman of Al-Ain and Guangzhou Evergrande midfielder Zheng Zhi of China for the award.
“I’ve worked very hard but did not expect to win, so I thank God,” Khalil said. “Winning this award is a special feeling. Everyone tries his best but at the end only one person wins.”
Khalil, who is the second leading scorer in ongoing World Cup qualifiers with 10 goals, said his ultimate target is to play abroad.
“Every player wants to play in Europe. I have goals set for the future and that is one of my goals. But I have a contract for my team for the present and am thus committed.”
Khalil became only the third player to receive both the senior and youth awards, having also won the 2008 AFC youth player of the year prize.
Iran’s Mehdi Mahdavikia and Japan’s Shinji Ono are the others to have got the double.
AFC Asian Cup winner Australia was named the national team of the year while FIFA Women’s World Cup runner-up Japan won the women’s team of the year award. An individual women’s award will be announced later.
Ange Postecoglou of Australia was voted the men’s coach of the year while Asako Takura of Japan won it for women’s teams.
Uzbekistan’s Dostonbek Khamdamov was named the youth player of the year among men while Japan’s Rikako Kobayashi won the women’s award.