The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has announced the first shortlist of contenders for the coveted AFC Player of the Year award for this year.
Korea Republic and Iran have three players each in the list while Asian champions Japan have two. Iraq, UAE, China, Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria have a player each in the 15-member list.
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.
From Iran, defender Hadi Aghili, Farhad Majidi and Ghasem Hadadifar found themselves among the contenders while Korea Republic’s Koo Ja-cheol, Ha Tae-goon and Yeom Ki-hun are also on the list.
Keisuke Honda and Takashi Inui’s performance in the AFC Asian Cup earlier this year put them in contention for the prestigious honour.
Former Asian Player of the Year Server Djeparov (Uzbekistan) is once again in the fray alongside Ismail Matar (UAE), Younus Mahmoud (Iraq), Deng Zhouxiang (China), Mohammed Noor (Saudi Arabia), Firas Al Khatib (Syria) and Hasan Abdel Fattah (Jordan).
The AFC Player of the Year award will be presented at a grand ceremony on November 23, 2011, at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Kuala Lumpur.
LIST OF CONTENDERS FOR AFC PLAYER OF THE YEAR 2011
(in alphabetical order; list as of today)
Deng Zhouxiang (China)
Farhad Majidi (Iran)
Firas Al Khatib (Syria)
Ghasem Hadadifar (Iran)
Ha Tae-goon (Korea Republic)
Hadi Aghili (Iran)
Hasan Abdel Fattah (Jordan)
Ismail Matar (UAE)
Keisuke Honda (Japan)
Koo Ja-cheol (Korea Republic)
Mohammed Noor (Saudi Arabia)
Server Djeparov (Uzbekistan)
Takashi Inui (Japan)
Yeom Ki-hun (Korea Republic)
Younus Mahmoud (Iraq)
(AFC Press Release)