Qatar star Hassan named AFC Asian Player of the Year
Hassan is the first Qatari player to win the award since 2006
MUSCAT: Qatari left-back Abdulkarim Hassan on Wednesday scooped the AFC Asian Player of the Year award.
The 25-year-old Al Sadd star beat Kashima Antlers’ Yuma Suzuki and Kento Misao to the top award.
A smiling Hassan received the glittering trophy from AFC President Salman Bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa at the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre.
He becomes the second Qatari to be named AFC Asian Player of the Year after striker Khalfan Ibrahim won the same trophy in 2006.
“I am very happy to receive this award. It is an honour not just for me but my club and country,” Hassan said after receiving the trophy.
“It has been a long journey. I begin with my thanks to the Almighty for this honour. Then I would like to thank my family, my club mates and the players who played with me when I was young,” Hassan said.
“I also want to thank the coaches at club and national team level. Their support and guidance have brought me to this stage,” Hassan added in his brief speech.
The Al Sadd tall left-back played a key role in his club’s advance to the 2018 AFC Champions League semi-finals and runners-up finish in the 2017-18 Qatar Stars League season.
In 2018, Hassan scored four goals and provided the assist for nine more, a tally rivalling some of Asia’s most seasoned and notable strikers.
He was the youngest player to appear in the 2011 AFC Champions League at 17 years old, coming off the bench against Iran’s Esteghlal. His team subsequently emerged champions of the Champions League that year. He was awarded Young Player of the Year in the 2012–13 Qatar Stars League.
In 2017, Al Sadd had loaned him to Belgium’s Eupen; he scored one goal in ten appearances during his Belgian First Division stint.
An early bloomer, Hassan was the youngest player to appear in the preliminary squad list for the 2011 Asian Cup at the age of 17 years and 123 days old. He made his debut for Qatar in 2010 against Haiti.
He remains a key player in the Qatar national side and the winning the award will surely solidify his place as one of the players to watch ahead of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019.
Also on Wednesday, Wang Shuang became the fourth player from China PR to win the coveted AFC Women’s Player of the Year.
Shuang, who plays for Paris Saint-Germain in the Division 1 Féminine, claimed the award for the first time, following an impressive year at both club and international level.