Japan duo in hunt for award

Japanese stars Yasuhito Endo and Yuji Nakazawa were named among the five players in contention to be AFC Player of the Year on Thursday, with Australia and Japan heading the list as top team.

The pair were joined by Uzbekistan's Server Djeparov, Sebastian Soria of Qatar and the UAE's Ismail Matar with the award handed out in a ceremony in Shanghai on 25 November.

Endo leads the running after guiding his team Gamba Osaka to the AFC Champions League title on Wednesday with a 2-0 victory over Adelaide United for a 5-0 aggregate win.

The Japanese international was named most valuable player of the championships.

His Gamba manager Akira Nishino is among three men in the hunt for the coach of the year accolade. He is up against Adelaide's Aurelio Vidmar and Hossein Shams, who is in charge of Iran's futsal team.

It could be a night to remember for Gamba who are also in contention to be named club of the year, along with Adelaide, Uzbekistan's Kuruvchi and Japanese outfit Urawa Red Diamonds, who won the Champions League last year.

Pim Verbeek's Socceroos, Japan and Saudi Arabia are the three teams challenging for national team of the year.