Sayyid Shihab to preside over AFC Annual Awards Oman 2018

With the arrival of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) chairman Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim al Khalifa in Muscat on Saturday, the countdown has begun for the glittering AFC Annual Awards Oman 2018, which will be held at the Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre (OCEC) on November 28.

The event, hosted by the Oman Football Association (OFA), will be graced by the chief guest, H H Sayyid Shihab bin Tariq al Said, Advisor to His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, and will begin at 7pm.

According to OFA chief executive Said Othman al Balushi, FIFA president Gianni Infantino and other top officials will also attend the star-studded event. Infantino will be the guest of honour at the ceremony.

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Sheikh Salim al Wahaibi, the OFA chairman, said that the event will bring Muscat into global spotlight as top football leaders will be attending the ceremony and also holding meetings prior to the event.

Meetings between continental and Arab federations and executive meeting of the Gulf nations will also be held on the sidelines of the event.

The AFC only last week announced the nominees for this year’s AFC Annual Awards.

Kashima Antlers’ Yuma Suzuki and Kento Misao, who starred in the J-League side’s first-ever AFC Asian Champions League title triumph earlier this month, lead the nominations in the men’s category with Al Sadd’s Abdelkarim Hassan completing this year’s cast.

Suzuki, 22, was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. Compatriot Misao, 22, played an equally integral part in Kashima’s fairy-tale season. The Japanese duo will face stiff competition from experienced Qatari international Hassan, who showcased remarkable consistency in Al Sadd’s march to the 2018 AFC Champions League semifinals.

Samantha leads the race among women

In the women’s category, Australia’s Samantha Kerr will be looking to clinch her second consecutive award after the Perth Glory forward guided the Matildas to a second-place finish at the 2018 AFC Women’s Asian Cup in Amman, Jordan in April.

The Australia international is up against China’s Wang Shuang whose four goals helped the Steel Roses finish third at the 2018 Women’s Asian Cup. Japan’s Saki Kumagai completes the world-class line-up .

The Japanese skipper, who along with Samantha was nominated for the Best FIFA Football Awards in July, was instrumental in leading the Nadeshiko to its second AFC Asian Cup title.

Other AFC nominees are: Futsal Player of the Year: Rafael Henmi (Japan), Ali Asghar Hasanzadeh (Iran), Mahdi Javid (Iran).

Youth Player of the Year (Women): Fuka Nagano (Japan), Moeka Minami (Japan), Saori Takarada (Japan).

Youth Player of the Year (Men): Jun Nishikawa (Japan), Jeon Se-Jin (South Korea), Turki al Ammar (Saudi Arabia).

Coach of the Year (Women): Asako Takakura (Japan), Miyo Okamoto (Japan), Nuengrutai Srathongvian (Thailand).

Coach of the Year (Men):  Basim Hamdan (Iraq), Go Oiwa (Japan), Ravshan Khaydarov (Uzbekistan).

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