Yasser Al Qahtani named Asian Player of the Year
By Julian Linden
SYDNEY, Nov 28 - Saudi Arabia captain Yasser Al Qahtani gained some consolation for his team's shock loss to Iraq in the Asian Cup final when he was named Asian Player of the Year on Wednesday.
The 25-year-old striker received the award at a gala dinner in Sydney after being chosen ahead of Iraqi pair Younis Mahmoud and Nashat Akram, who had made up the shortlist of the final three nominees.
Al Qahtani became the fourth Saudi Arabian to win the award, which has been given out annually since 1994, joining Saeed Owiran (1994), Nawaf Al Temyat (2000) and Hamad Al-Montashari (2005).
Many of Asia's best-known players were ineligible to win the award after the AFC introduced a rule in 2005 insisting players had to be present at the ceremony to be considered, effectively ruling out any European-based players.
Iraq's Mahmoud had been the popular choice to win the award after scoring the winning goal in the Asian Cup final and being named player of the tournament, but Al Qahtani scooped the honour due to his performances in all competitions during the year.
The Saudis had gone into the Asian Cup final in Jakarta as overwhelming favourites to win their fourth title but were upset by an Iraqi team in one of sport's great fairytales.
The Iraqis defied incredible odds and a haphazard preparation brought about by the war and sectarian violence at home to reach the final. (Editing by Peter Rutherford)
This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index