Al Dawsari made his name known as he led a squad to stun eventual champions Argentina in the 2022 Qatar World Cup group matches.
Saudi Arabia’s Salem Al Dawsari and Australian superstar Samantha Kerr lifted the 2023 AFC Player of the Year Award in the men’s and women’s categories at the AFC Annual Awards Doha 2022 on Tuesday.
Al Hilal ‘s Dawsari became the sixth Saudi player and the fifth from the club to win the AFC Player of the Year award, held this year at the Qatar National Convention Centre’s Al Mayassa Theatre.
“I am very happy with this achievement, and I would like to thank the leadership in Saudi Arabia for their keen interest in athletes and support for sport,” the 32-year-old winger said in his speech.
“I also want to thank the Saudi Football Federation, Al Hilal, Saudi national team as well as the fans. Of course, I am grateful to my parents and wife, who is my number one supporter,” Al Dawsari said.
Al Dawsari has become one of the most recognised footballers in the Middle East as he has pocketed 16 trophies with Al-Hilal, including five Saudi Pro League titles, three King Cups, Saudi Supercups, and Saudi Crown Prince Cups, as well as two AFC Champions League titles.
On the international stage, Al Dawsari etched his name into the history books after leading his squad to stun eventual champions Argentina in the 2022 Qatar World Cup group matches.
Qatar’s Almoez Ali was in contention with Al Dawsari for the title as he was recognised for being the country’s all-time top scorer with his 42nd goal last year.
Ahead of the Qatar-hosted AFC Annual Awards, Al Dawsari said his favourite moment as a footballer last year was the 2022 World Cup.
“It was such a happy feeling and a historic moment to score against Argentina. But, my ambition will never be to win just one game. A player should always work harder and harder (to achieve more),” said the professional Saudi footballer.
For the women’s side, Australian footballer Kerr said it was “an honour” to win the award in an acceptance speech via video.
“I just want to say what an honour it is to win this award, especially up against some amazing finalists. It has been an amazing year for me and my team and I just want to thank all my teammates, my coaches, my family and friends; thank you very much again,” the striker said.
In the coaching category, Japan’s Hajime Moriyasu won the men’s AFC Coach of the Year award, while Shui Qingxia of China won the label in the women’s category.
Iran’s Moslem Oladghobad became the AFC Futsal Player of the Year after aiding his team in their campaign to the final of the AFC Futsal Asian Cup in Kuwait last year.
Roll of Honour:
AFC Diamond of Asia
Saoud Al Mohannadi of Qatar (posthumous)
AFC Member Association of the Year
Platinum: Uzbekistan Football Association
Diamond: Lebanese Football Association
Gold: The Football Association of Hong Kong, China Limited
Ruby: Guam Football Association
AFC Regional Association of the Year
Central Asian Football Association
AFC President Recognition Awards for Grassroots Football
Gold: Football Australia
Silver: Guam Football Association
Bronze: All India Football Federation
AFC Coach of the Year (Women’s)
Shui Qingxia (CHN)
AFC Coach of the Year (Men’s)
Hajime Moriyasu (JPN)
AFC Futsal Player of the Year
Moslem Oladghobad (IRN)
AFC Women’s Player of the Year:
Samantha Kerr (Chelsea FC and AUS)
AFC Player of the Year:
Salem Al Dawsari (Al Hilal SFC and KSA)
The awards below were not presented in Qatar:
AFC Asian International Player of the Year:
Kim Min-jae (Fenerbahce/SSC Napoli/FC Bayern Munchen and KOR)
AFC Youth Player of the Year (Women’s)
Maika Hamano (INAC Kobe Leonessa/Chelsea FC and JPN)
AFC Youth Player of the Year (Men’s)
Kuryu Matsuki (Aomori Yamada High School/FC Tokyo and JPN)
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