Bengaluru, November 30: Syrian striker Omar Khrbin was named Asian Men's Player of The Year while Australia's Samantha Kerr took the women's honour at the Asian Football Confederation's (AFC) annual awards ceremony in Bangkok, Thailand.
Khrbin, the Al Hilal star was engrossed in a three-way battle with China and Shanghai SIPG winger Wu Lei and the UAE's Al Ain midfielder Omar Abdulrahman for the coveted award.
Abdulrahman, who was the Asian Player of the Year in the previous year was the favourite to win it again, but he was pipped by Khrbin following a stellar 2017 with both the club and country.
The 23-year-old top scored with 10 goals in this year's AFC Champions League where Hilal lost to Japan's Urawa Red Diamonds 1-2 on aggregate and also played an instrumental role in Syria' surprise run to the play-offs for the 2018 Russia World Cup which ended in a 2-3 aggregate defeat to Australia.
Presenting AFC Player of the Year 2017: Omar Khrbin pic.twitter.com/j9kcbUlZkz— AFC (@theafcdotcom) November 29, 2017
Despite the double blow, Khrbin is already looking ahead.
"We hope that next year we will do our best and try to get the AFC Champions League title for Al Hilal," said Khrbin, who becomes the first player from Syria to win the AFC honour.
Meanwhile, Kerr joined the ranks of other Australian greats - Kate Gill (2010), Katrina Gorry (2014) and Caitlin Foord (2016) to be adjudged Asia's best.
"A lot of Australians have previously won it, so I'm very humbled to win it. Not only because Australians have won it but because it's such a great award," said Kerr.
Coach of the Year
Men: Takafumi Hori (JPN)
Women: Asako Takakura (JPN)
AFC Dream Asia Award: Japan Football Association
AFC Asian International Player of the Year: Son Heung-min (KOR)
AFC Futsal Player of the Year: Aliasghar Hasanzadeh (IRN)