Al Ahli striker Ahmed Khalil and Al Ain playmaker Omar Abdulrahman have made the three-man shortlist for the 2015 AFC Player of the Year.
The announcement was made on Wednesday, with the winner of the award revealed at the AFC Annual Awards ceremony in New Delhi, India on November 29. Joining the Emirati pair is China captain and Guangzhou Evergrande midfielder Zheng Zhi.
Khalil, 24, has enjoyed a stunning 2015, helping Al Ahli reach the final of the Asian Champions League while Abdulrahman makes the list after a year that has seen the midfielder lead Al Ain to the quarter-finals of the Champions League and play a central role in the UAE’s third-place finish at the Asian Cup. Regarded as one of the finest talents in Asian football, Abdulrahman continues to be vital to the hopes of his club and country. Al Ain currently top the Arabian Gulf League table, while his two goals and string of assisrs for the UAE have helped in their bid to reach Russia.
Khalil and Abdulrahman face stiff competition for the award from Zheng, the 2013 AFC Player of the Year. Zheng, 35, has helped Guangzhou clinch a fifth straight Chinese Super League title as well as reach the Champions League final. He scored the crucial goal in Guangzhou’s semi-final victory against Japan’s Gamba Osaka, and was captain of the China team that reached the quarter-finals of the Asian Cup.
Nominated for the three-player shortlist on the women’s side are Japan captain Aya Miyama, the 2011 and 2012 AFC Women’s Player of the Year, Australia midfielder Elise Kellond-Knight, and Japan midfielder Rumi Utsagi.
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