Afif named AFC Asian Player of the Year

Gulf Times - - FRONT PAGE -

Akram Afif’s ster­ling year was made even more ex­cep­tional when the Qatar in­ter­na­tional was named the AFC Player of the Year 2019 at the AFC An­nual Awards yes­ter­day.

Afif was tipped as a fu­ture star since his early years that saw him play for Span­ish youth teams Sevilla and Vil­lar­real, be­fore be­ing called up for Qatar’s team for the 2012 AFC U-16 Cham­pi­onship Qual­i­fiers and the 2014 AFC U-19 Cham­pi­onship.

Not yet 20, Afif was part of Qatar’s 2016 AFC U-23 Cham­pi­onship cam­paign that was led by head coach Felix Sanchez and the for­ward was again part of the squad in the fol­low­ing edi­tion, where Qatar fin­ished third.

A per­ma­nent mem­ber of the se­nior na­tional team since 2015, Afif was in­stru­men­tal in Qatar’s AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 tri­umph, with one goal and 10 as­sists.

Ja­pan in­ter­na­tional cap­tain Saki Ku­ma­gai was named the AFC Women’s Player of the Year Award ahead of Li Ying of China PR and In­dia women’s na­tional team star Asha­lata Devi.

Tot­ten­ham Hotspur and Korea Repub­lic star Song He­ung-min was named the AFC In­ter­na­tional Player of the Year ahead of Ein­tra­cht Frank­furt’s Makoto Hasebe and Zenit St Peters­burg’s Sar­dar Az­moun.

Mean­while, Korea Repub­lic’s Chung Jung-yong was named the AFC Men’s Coach of the Year.

Chung, a for­mer pro­fes­sional player, first got in­volved with Korea Repub­lic’s age-group na­tional teams in 2009, where he was the as­sis­tant coach to Kim Eun-chul for the AFC U-16 Cham­pi­onship 2010 Qual­i­fiers.

Asako Takakura win AFC Women’s Coach of the Year for a record 7th time.

Takakura, who also won the award in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017 and 2018, led Ja­pan to the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019 Round of 16.

Ja­pan Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion (JFA) was awarded the AFC Mem­ber As­so­ci­a­tion of the Year 2019 for the fifth time.

Akram Afif: Qatar’s star

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