Sam Kerr & Aussies headline AFC award nominations: The details

Matildas captain Sam Kerr and Melbourne City star Mathew Leckie have been nominated for top honours at the AFC Awards, and they are not the only Australians.

After a four-year hiatus, the AFC Annual Awards is returning on October 31 and it is based on last year’s form.

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A-Leagues legend and Matildas superstar Kerr has been nominated for the AFC Women’s Player of the Year, while Socceroo Leckie is on the three-man shortlist for the AFC Men’s Player of the Year.

Socceroos boss Graham Arnold is in contention to win the AFC Coach of the Year and Matildas sensation Mary Fowler has been nominated for the AFC Youth Player of the Year.

Meanwhile, Australian trio Chris Beath, Anton Shchetinin and Ashley Beecham have been nominated for the AFC Referees Special Award.

In 2022, Kerr became Australia’s all-time leading goalscorer – men or women – during the AFC Women’s Asian Cup, where she won the Golden Boot.

She also won the AFC Player of the Year in 2017, while Catlin Foord (2016), Katrina Gorry (2014) and Kate Gill (2010) are the other Australians to claim it.

Chinese star Zhang Linyan and Saki Kumagai of Japan have also been nominated.

Leckie is one of three nominees for the men’s award, along with Al Duhail’s Almoez Ali of Qatar and Saudi Arabia’s Salem Al Dawsari from Al Hilal, as three-time reigning Isuzu UTE A-League premiers City prepare to open their season against Western United on October 21.

It comes after the 32-year-old helped inspire City’s run to the 2021-22 Grand Final.

Leckie enjoyed his best A-Leagues campaign that term, scoring nine goals and supplying four assists as the club won their second straight Premiership but lost the decider to Western United.

In 2022, he also scored for the Socceroos against Denmark as Australia qualified for the FIFA Men’ World Cup round of 16 before scoring seven goals for City in 2022-23.

The only other Australian male to win this award was former Brisbane Roar, Adelaide United and Sydney FC defender Sasa Ognenovski in 2010 after winning the 2010 AFC Champions League with South Korea’s Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma.

Australia head coach Graham Arnold has been nominated for the AFC Men’s Coach of the Year, alongside Japan’s Hajime Moriyasu and Saad Al Shehri of Saudi Arabia.

Arnold guided the Socceroos to a last-16 berth against eventual champions Argentina at the World Cup.

Only two other Australians have won the coaching gong – Tony Popovic after winning the 2014 AFC Champions League with Western Sydney Wanderers and Australian legend Ange Postecoglou the following year during his Socceroos stint.

AFC nominees:

AFC Player of the Year

Mathew Leckie (Melbourne City and AUS)
Almoez Ali (Al Duhail SC and QAT)
Salem Al Dawsari (Al Hilal SFC and KSA)

AFC Women’s Player of the Year

Samantha Kerr (Chelsea FC and AUS)
Zhang Linyan (Guangzhou Women’s/Wuhan Women’s FC/Grasshopper Club Zurich and CHN)
Saki Kumagai (FC Bayern Munich and JPN)

AFC Asian International Player of the Year

Mehdi Taremi (FC Porto and IRN)
Kaoru Mitoma (Royale Union Saint Gilloise/Brighton and Hove Albion and JPN)
Kim Min-jae (Fenerbahce/Napoli and KOR)

AFC Futsal Player of the Year

Moslem Oladghobad (IRN)
Saeid Ahmad Abbasi (IRN)
Guilherme Kuromoto (JPN)

AFC Coach of the Year (Men’s)

Graham Arnold (AUS)
Hajime Moriyasu (JPN)
Saad Al Shehri (KSA)

AFC Coach of the Year (Women’s)

Shui Qingxia (CHN)
Tomomi Miyamoto (JPN)
Kim Eun-jung (KOR)

AFC Youth Player of the Year (Men’s)

Amin Hazbavi (Foolad FC and IRN)
Kuryu Matsuki (Aomori Yamada High School/FC Tokyo and JPN)
Lee Seung-won (Gangwon FC and KOR)

AFC Youth Player of the Year (Women’s)

Mary Fowler (Manchester City and AUS)
Huo Yuexin (Jiangsu Youth Women’s Club and CHN)
Maika Hamano (INAC Kobe Leonessa and JPN)

AFC Member Association of the Year (Platinum)

Football Federation Islamic Republic of Iran
Japan Football Association
Uzbekistan Football Association

AFC Member Association of the Year (Diamond)

The Kyrgyz Football Union
Lebanese Football Association
Vietnam Football Federation

AFC Member Association of the Year (Gold)

The Football Association of Hong Kong, China Limited
Kuwait Football Association
All Nepal Football Association

AFC Member Association of the Year (Ruby)

Guam Football Association

AFC Regional Association of the Year

Asean Football Federation
Central Asian Football Association
South Asian Football Federation

AFC President Recognition Awards for Grassroots Football (Gold)

Football Australia
Chinese Football Association
Japan Football Association

AFC President Recognition Awards for Grassroots Football (Silver)

Guam Football Association
Philippine Football Federation
The Football Association of Thailand

AFC President Recognition Awards for Grassroots Football (Bronze)

Football Association of Brunei Darussalam
All India Football Federation
Football Federation Islamic Republic of Iran
Syrian Football Association

AFC Referees Special Award

Chris Beath (AUS) – Referee,
Anton Shchetinin (AUS) – Assistant Referee,
Ashley Beecham (AUS) – Assistant Referee,
Ammar Aljneibi (UAE) – Support Video Assistant Referee