Kuala Lumpur, December 8, 2004 - The 10th AFC Awards night took place in the glittering hall amidst a man-made lake and a world class golf surrounding in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia). In an event which saw the attendance of AFC President, Mohamed bin Hammam, AFC General Secretary, Dato Peter Velappan and former AFC Player of the Year, Nawaf Al Temyat and Saeed Owairan, the highlight of the 11 awards presentation was definitely the AFC Player of the Year awards.
Although both their national team has not taken the Asian crown this year, their individual performances still stood out - Homare Sawa and Ali Karimi were crowned as the Stars of the Year 2004. Diminutive Sawa guided her team to the quarter-finals of the Olympic Games in Athen while Karimi dazzled everyone, not only with his locks but also his skills as he single handedly demolished Korea Rep. in the quarter-finals of the Asian Cup China 2004.
In a vote from National Associations and AFC technical members, Karimi had to stave off strong challenges from marksman A'ala Hubail of Bahrain and midfielder Shunsuke Nakamura of Japan.
The AFC Awards night had started with the presentation of the AFC Special Merit award - an award which was introduced this year to recognize outstanding contributions to Asian football. The inaugural recipient for this award was Prince Abdul Rahman bin Saoud (1940-2004), the former President of Al Nasr club in Saudi Arabia.
Prince Abdul Rahman had guided Al Nasr club to domestic supremacy which culminated in him leading the club as the first Asian representative at the FIFA Club World Championship in 2000. Along the way, they were champions at the regional and Asian level.
Other Award winners on the night were:
AFC Fair Play Team of the Year: China PR
AFC National Team of the Year: Japan
AFC National Women's Team of the Year: China PR (Under 19)
AFC Futsal Team of the Year: IR Iran
AFC Club Team of the Year: Al Ittihad (Saudi Arabia)
AFC Coach of the Year: Adnan Hamd Majeed (Iraq)
AFC Match Official of the Year: Lu Jun (China PR)
AFC Youth Player of the Year: Park Chu Young (Korea Rep.)
... Payvand News - 12/8/04 ... --