Syria’s Omar Kharbin and Australia’s Samantha Kerr were named as the top players in Asia at the AFC Annual Awards in Bangkok on Wednesday.
Kharbin’s goalscoring was a crucial feature for both club and country. He helped Syria achieve new highs by reaching Asia’s FIFA World Cup™ play-off, while also becoming the AFC Champions League top-scorer as Saudi Arabia side Al Hilal won through to the final.
“This award is for the support of my team-mates in Syria and Al Hilal,” said Kharbin, who is the first Syrian to win the continental award. “We promise to our fans to keep trying our best.”
Kerr capped off spectacular recent run of success which has included being named the NWSL’s best player, and also top goalscorer in the USA’s elite competition. At international level, Kerr has scored 11 goals in her past six outings for the Matildas.
“I think we are going in the right direction with women's football in Australia,” said Kerr, who is the fourth Australian to win the award in the past seven years. “I am very proud to fly the flag for Australia. Individual awards are not important.”
Taking home the coaching awards were Asako Takakura, who was crowned for the fifth time after lifting Japan to third at last year’s FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, and AFC Champions League winner Takafumi Hori of Urawa Red Diamonds.