Singapore: Australian goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, Manchester United midfielder Shinji Kagawa and his Japanese team mate Yuto Nagatomo have been nominated for the AFC's first Asian International Player of the Year award. The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) announced the three-man shortlist for the new honour on Sunday along with the nominees for their Asian Player of the Year award, open to candidates who play for clubs in the continent.
South Korean winger Lee Keun-ho, who won the AFC Champions League with Ulsan Hyundai last week, and Australian captain Lucas Neill, who plays for Al Wasl in the UAE, were shortlisted for the prize. Also nominated were 2004 winner Ali Karimi, his Iranian team mate Mohsen Bengar and Guangzhou Evergrande defender Zheng Zhi.
The winners will be announced at the AFC awards night in Kuala Lumpur on November 29 The new honour comes after years of the AFC only nominating players who would be available to attend the awards, which regularly ruled out many worthy winners who played for European clubs.
Three Japanese, Aya Miyama, Homare Sawa and Yuki Ogimi were nominated for the Women's Player of the Year award, while a trio of Brazilians, Bruno Correa, Ricardo Oliveira and Rogerio De Assis Silva Coutinho are up for the foreign Player of the Year.