Honda, Inui lead Asian award shortlist

Japan's Keisuke Honda and Takashi Inui are likely frontrunners in this year's Asian Football Confederation's Player of the Year award after they were named in the provisional shortlist today.

The 15-player list also includes former Asian player of the year Server Djeparov of Uzbekistan alongside the United Arab Emirates' Ismail Matar, Iraq's Younis Mahmoud, China PR's Deng Zhouxiang and Saudi Arabia's Mohammed Noor.

Honda emerged as Japan's key player at the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ in South Africa, where he scored two goals and set up another as the Blue Samurai reached the Round of 16 for their best ever result on foreign soil.

He was also named the most valuable player at the 2011 AFC Asian Cup in Doha in January, when Japan lifted a record fourth continental title.

The 23-year-old Inui scored 34 goals in 120 games in the J.League and signed for German club VfL Bochum in July.

The regional football body said the list will be revised again next month after the 2014 FIFA World Cup Asian qualifiers, Olympic qualifiers, AFC Champions League and AFC Cup matches. The award will be presented at a 23 November ceremony in Kuala Lumpur.