The Asian Football Confederation has announced the names of the three nominees for this year’s AFC Player of the Year Award in the women’s and men’s categories.
This year’s annual celebration of the stars of Asian football will take place at a glittering gala event in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates, on 1 December, 2016.
The nominees are:
Caitlin Foord (AUS)
Lisa De Vanna (AUS)
Tan Ruyin (CHN)
Omar Abdulrahman (UAE)
Hammadi Ahmed Aldeeaa (IRQ)
Wu Lei (CHN)
Midfielder for the UAE national team, Al Ain player Omar Abdulrahman has been the one to watch in the region, having already won several individual accolades. He led UAE to the third round of the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 Asian Qualifiers and his club Al Ain to this season’s AFC Champions League final.
Wu Lei is the all-time top goal-scorer for his club, Shanghai SIPG, with 114 goals. He also holds the record for being the youngest person to have played in a professional Chinese football match aged just 14 years and 287 days. Wu has won the Chinese Super League Golden Boot four times, most recently this year. Wu led China PR to third round of the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 Asian Qualifiers.
Hammadi Ahmed Aldeeaa plays for Air Force Club, winners of this season’s AFC Cup, and the Iraq national team. He was both the top scorer and Most Valuable Player of the 2016 AFC Cup.
Caitlin Foord holds the record as the youngest ever Australian to play for the Matildas at a FIFA World Cup, having played in Germany at the age of 16 years and 230 days. She was subsequently named the first ever Best Young Footballer at the tournament. Foord was part of the Matildas squad at the Olympic Games in Rio.
The Matildas’ captain Lisa de Vanna played in the Olympics for the second time this year, having competed at the 2004 Athens Olympics where Australia finished 5th. She has made over 100 appearances for her national side including three FIFA World Cups and two AFC Asian Cups.
Tan Ruyin has made ten appearances at FIFA tournaments, with her debut at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Canada 2014. She competed at the Olympic Games in Rio in August and will be remembered for scoring for China PR from 40 yards against South Africa.