DOHA: Saudi Arabian sensation Salem Al Dawsari and Australian icon Samantha Kerr have clinched the prestigious AFC Player of the Year Award in the men’s and women’s categories respectively at the AFC Annual Awards in Doha.

Al Dawsari’s brilliant winning strike for the Green Falcons against Argentina at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 was just one of numerous highlights over the past season, when he also helped Al Hilal SFC reach both the FIFA Club World Cup Morocco 2022 and AFC Champions League™ 2022 Finals, in addition to winning the 2021-22 Saudi Pro League and 2022-23 King’s Cup.

The exciting forward is the sixth Saudi player and the fifth from Al Hilal to win the AFC Player of the Year award – the most from any country and club respectively – and the 32-year-old said: “I am very happy with this achievement and I would like to thank the leadership in Saudi Arabia for their keen interest in athletes and support for sport. I also want to thank the Saudi Arabian Football Federation, Al Hilal, Saudi national team as well as the fans. Of course, I am grateful to my parents and wife, who is my number one supporter.”

Six years after her first triumph, during which she has become an established global superstar, Kerr collected her second AFC Women’s Player of the Year accolade. The 30-year-old striker was at her prolific best for both country and club – she supplanted Tim Cahill as the all-time leading scorer for Australia, men or women, and plundered 30 goals to lead Chelsea FC to a league and cup double in the 2022/23 season.

The Matildas captain, who joins Aya Miyama (2011, 2012, 2015) and Homare Sawa (2004, 2008) as the only players to win the award more than once, said in an acceptance speech via video: “I just want to say what an honour it is to win this award, especially up against some amazing finalists. It has been an amazing year for me and my team and I just want to thank all my team-mates, my coaches, my family and friends – thank you very much again.”  

Claiming top honours in the coaching category, Japan’s Hajime Moriyasu, who orchestrated the Blue Samurai’s stunning comeback victories over former champions Germany and Spain to qualify for the Round of 16 at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, received the men’s AFC Coach of the Year award.

At the same time, Shui Qingxia, who ended China PR’s 16-year wait for the AFC Women’s Asian Cup™ trophy when she led the Steel Roses to victory in India in 2022, and in doing so became the first to win the coveted title both as a player and head coach, was presented with the AFC Coach of the Year award in the women’s category.

Islamic Republic of Iran’s Moslem Oladghobad was confirmed as the AFC Futsal Player of the Year after guiding his nation to the Final of the AFC Futsal Asian Cup™ Kuwait 2022, where he was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

Four years after it was last staged, the glitzy ceremony, which was presented by AFC Global Partner NEOM, also marked its return by conferring the Confederation’s highest honour – the AFC Diamond of Asia – to the late Saoud Al Mohannadi of Qatar.

AFC Annual Awards Doha 2022 Roll of Honour:

AFC Diamond of Asia
Saoud Al Mohannadi of Qatar (posthumous)

AFC Member Association of the Year
Platinum: Uzbekistan Football Association
Diamond: Lebanese Football Association
Gold: The Football Association of Hong Kong, China Limited
Ruby: Guam Football Association

AFC Regional Association of the Year
Central Asian Football Association

AFC President Recognition Awards for Grassroots Football
Gold: Football Australia
Silver: Guam Football Association
Bronze: All India Football Federation

AFC Coach of the Year (Women’s)
Shui Qingxia (CHN)

AFC Coach of the Year (Men’s)
Hajime Moriyasu (JPN)

AFC Futsal Player of the Year
Moslem Oladghobad (IRN)

AFC Women’s Player of the Year:
Samantha Kerr (Chelsea FC and AUS)

AFC Player of the Year:
Salem Al Dawsari (Al Hilal SFC and KSA)

The awards below were not presented in Qatar:

AFC Asian International Player of the Year:
Kim Min-jae (Fenerbahce/SSC Napoli/FC Bayern Munchen and KOR)

AFC Youth Player of the Year (Women’s)
Maika Hamano (INAC Kobe Leonessa/Chelsea FC and JPN)

AFC Youth Player of the Year (Men’s)
Kuryu Matsuki (Aomori Yamada High School/FC Tokyo and JPN)

AFC Referees Special Award
Chris Beath (AUS) – Referee,
Anton Shchetinin (AUS) – Assistant Referee,
Ashley Beecham (AUS) – Assistant Referee,
Ammar Aljneibi (UAE) – Support Video Assistant Referee