Fifteen shortlisted for Asian gong
Japanese trio Kengo Nakamura, Yasuhito Endo and Maya Yoshida, along with Saudi Arabia captain Mohammed Noor, headline the list of 15 players shortlisted for the AFC Player of the Year award. The quartet are joined on the list by players from Korea DPR, Bahrain, Iran, Syria, China PR, Indonesia, Qatar, Uzbekistan and Maldives.
Noor, who is joined on the shortlist by compatriot Nasser Al Shamrani, suffered heartbreak in Saudi Arabia's 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ play-off defeat by Bahrain last month, but was able to help Al Ittihad reach the AFC Champions League semi-finals after disposing of Uzbekistan's Pakhtakor.
Yoshida helped Nagoya Grampus reach the last four of the continent's Champions League, too, after edging out fellow J. League side Kawasaki, for whom Nakamura stars, and they will now face Qatar's Umm Salal for a place in the final.
Qatar and Umm Salal goalkeeper Baba Malick has also been named, alongside Bahrain defender Sayed Mohamed Adnan, Iran and Sepahan defender Hadi Aghily, and Korea DPR pair Hong Yong-Jo and Ri Myong-Guk.
Syria's Firas Al Khatib, former China captain Li Weifeng, Indonesian Markus Rihihina, Pakhtakor's veteran Uzbekistan forward Alexander Geynrikh and Maldives ace Ali Ashfaq were also named on the shortlist.
The winner will be announced in Kuala Lumpur on 24 November. Bunyodkor's Uzbekistan international midfielder Server Djeparov is the reigning AFC Player of the Year.