HONGKONG (Reuters) – Qatari defender Abdelkarim Hassan has been named Asian Player of the Year for 2018, claiming the Asian Football Confederation’s annual individual award ahead of Japanese duo Yuma Suzuki and Kenta Misao.
The left back received the award at a ceremony in the Omani capital Muscat after playing a key role in club side Al Sadd reaching the semi-finals of the Asian Champions League this season.
“I am very glad and proud to achieve this award,” said Hassan, who becomes the second Qatari to secure the award after 2006 winner Khalfan Ibrahim.
“Every player in Asia dreams of winning such an award and this is a great testament to Qatar football. It is a great honour to be the second Qatari to win this award.
“Of course, I have to thank my team mates and I thank everyone who supported me in my career.
“Personally I did not expect to win, but this is a great source of pride for me and I am very thankful. I am still just 25 years old, I have a long way to go, and I hope to build on this success.”
Midfielder Wang Shuang claimed the women’s award to become the third Chinese player to pick up the trophy, following in the footsteps of Ma Xiaoxu and Bai Jie.
“I would like to thank the AFC for this remarkable award,” she said.
“It really means a lot to win this. I want to thank my country, the Chinese Football Association and my national teammates for putting their faith in me and always encouraging me to dream big.”
Makoto Hasebe, who captained Japan to the knockout rounds of the World Cup in Russia over the summer, was named the International Player of the Year while Go Oiwa won the men’s coach of the year title after steering Kashima Antlers to their first Asian Champions League title.
Japan’s Asako Takakura, meanwhile, won the women’s coach of the year award for a sixth time.
(Reporting by Michael Church, editing by Nick Mulvenney)