Syrian striker Omar Kharbin was named the AFC’s Player of the Year at the AFC Annual Awards held in Bangkok on Wednesday.
The 23-year-old Al Hilal forward is the first player from Syria to receive the recognition.
Kharbin claimed the award ahead of the other two finalists, United Arab Emirates’ Omar Abdulrahman and China’s Wu Lei.
Presenting AFC Player of the Year 2017: Omar Khrbin pic.twitter.com/j9kcbUlZkz— AFC (@theafcdotcom) 29 November 2017
A brilliant year for Kharbin
Kharbin was a crucial part of the Syrian team that reached the AFC playoffs for the FIFA World Cup 2018 Asian Qualifiers, scoring ten goals in the process.
He also scored ten goals for Al Hilal at the AFC Champions League, including a hat trick against Persepolis in the semi-finals, helping his team reach the final.
After receiving the award, Kharbin said: “This award is for the support of my teammates in Syria and Al Hilal, we promise to our fans to keep trying our best.”
“We play and fight to bring happiness to our people, this is our main target.
“We have determination when we play football, but this is stronger when we have people who are very hungry for happiness and joy.
“From here I would like to promise Syria fans we will bring happiness and joy for them at the Asian Cup finals next year because our people deserve to be happy.”
Samantha Kerr: Women’s Player of the Year 2017
With nine international goals and 34 in total for club and country, Australian forward Samantha Kerr was named AFC Women’s Player of the Year.
After a great year at both club and international level, Kerr defeated Japanese captain Saki Kumagai and DPR Korea’s Sung Hyang-sim to claim the award.
'Firstly, I'd like to say congratulations to the other two nominees, it has been a great year. Secondly, thank you AFC for this wonderful night, it has been a bit of a crazy year, but I just want to say thank you to the support staff that helped me throughout the year and most importantly to my teammates because without them, none of this would have been possible, so thank you.' said Kerr while receiving the award.
Full list of winners
AFC Diamond of Asia: Yousuf Al Serkal (UAE)
AFC Dream Asia Award: Japan Football Association
AFC Member Association of the Year
-Inspiring: Football Federation Islamic Republic of Iran
-Developing: Vietnam Football Federation
-Aspiring: Afghanistan Football Federation
AFC President Recognition Award for Grassroots Football
-Inspiring Member Association: Chinese Football Association
-Developing Member Association: Football Association of Singapore
-Aspiring Member Association: Bhutan Football Federation
AFC Futsal Player of the Year: Aliasghar Hasanzadeh (IRN)
AFC Coach of the Year
-Women: Asako Takakura (JPN)
-Men: Takafumi Hori (JPN)
AFC Women’s Player of the Year: Samantha Kerr (AUS)
AFC Player of the Year: Omar Kharbin (SYR)