By Sports Reporter/ Doha
Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifah honoured Al Sadd star and 2019 AFC Player of the Year Akram Afif by presenting him with the trophy in Doha yesterday.
The ceremony was attended by Al Sadd general manager Turki Nasser al-Ali, head of football Mohamed Ghanem al-Ali, sporting director Mohamed Gholam al-Baloushi, Qatar Football Association general secretary Mansour al-Ansari and QFA director of national teams Talal al-Kaabi.
AFC had named Afif as the winner of the award on December 2 in Hong Kong, ahead of the other contenders Alireza Beiranvand of Iran and Tomoaki Makino of Japan. Afif became the third Qatari player to win the prestigious title, after former Al Sadd stars Khalfan Ibrahim in 2006 and Abdelkarim Hassan in 2018.
The 23-year-old forward was tipped for stardom since his early years, which saw him playing for Spanish youth teams Sevilla and Villarreal, before being called up to Qatar’s team for the 2012 AFC U-16 Championship Qualifiers and the 2014 AFC U-19 Championship.
Not yet 20, Afif was part of Qatar’s 2016 AFC U-23 Championship campaign that was led by head coach Felix Sanchez and the forward was again part of the squad in the following edition, where Qatar finished third.
A permanent member of the senior national team since 2015, Afif was instrumental in Qatar’s AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 triumph, with one goal and 10 assists.
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