Omar Abdulrahman was named Player of the Year at the 2016 AFC Awards on Thursday.
With the ceremony held at the Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi on the eve of UAE’s National Day, it was only fitting that an Emirati walk away with the biggest prize of the night.
The UAE star fended off competition from fellow nominees Hammadi Ahmed of Iraq and China’s Wu Lei to clinch the prestigious award.
Abdulrahman was absent during the press conference held with the nominees on Wednesday as he played and scored the winner in a 2-1 victory for Al Ain over Al Dhafra in the Arabian Gulf League.
‘Amoory’ was however present this time around to claim his award and became only the second UAE player to win the award after the country’s top scorer Ahmed Khalil became the first last year.
#AFCAwards2016: The AFC Player of the Year (Men) : Omar Abdulrahman 🇦🇪 pic.twitter.com/qpi1Wo1Vcp— The-AFC.com (@theafcdotcom) December 1, 2016
“Last year I did not lose. The award went to my brother Ahmed (Khalil) and I did not feel sad for that. This year, my ambitions were to win the AFC Champions League title which was more important for me.
“But this trophy is not only for me, it is for my colleagues and brothers in Al Ain and the national team and it’s also for the technical staff.”
Abdulrahman has been instrumental for Al Ain this year. The AGL outfit finished as runners-up in the league and also fell at the last hurdle in the AFC Champions League, losing to Hyundai Jeonbuk FC in the finals.
He has also starred for the UAE national team, leading them to within touching distance of qualification for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
The frenzy when AFC Player of the Year Omar Abdulrahman enters the press conference.. #AFCawards2016 pic.twitter.com/tWNoD8VX3k— Brendon Netto (@BrendonNetto) December 1, 2016
Meanwhile, Australia’s Caitlin Foord became the first woman to win the AFC Young Player of the Year and AFC Player of the Year awards.
“It’s a massive achievement. Looking back at the Young Player of the Year award, I was just so young and took all these awards without thinking too much about them. I feel very privileged now looking back to that and am sure I’ll feel the same looking back at this too,” she expressed.