AFC 2019 Awards

Rasim Movsumov, Ballon D'Or Juror: "The AFC 2019 Awards were a Celebration of Asian football"

Billions of people have an opinion on who the best male and female footballers in the world are though only a select handful can make the decision. One of those people is Ballon D’Or juror, Rasim Movsumov, who hails from Azerbaijan.

Rasim Movsumov
Rasim Movsumov

Movsumov is a journalist and also a Juror for the Ballon d’Or Award and also a Juror for the UEFA and European Sports Media for the UEFA Best Player in Europe Award; so when people debate about Messi and Ronaldo then he is one of the people at the heart of the conversation.

Movsumov was in Hong Kong as a guest for the AFC awards and wrote a piece upon his return to his homeland which he happily translated below for They are his reflections of his time in Hong Kong and the awards ceremony itself.

AFC 2019 Awards

"The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) selects and awards the best from the Asian continent at the end of each year. This time, the award ceremony was held in Hong Kong. As a Jury member of the prestigious Ballon d'Or Award, I also attended in the 2019 AFC Annual Awards event."

"Hong Kong can be considered the cradle of Asian football; the Hong Kong Football Association was established in 1914 and was admitted to FIFA. The HKFA was one of the founders of the Asian Football Confederation in 1954 and also hosted the first AFC Asian Cup in 1956. The Hong Kong team, which played its first game in 1947 regularly plays in FIFA World Cup qualifying and has since the 1974 World Cup."

"In Hong Kong, I also met with Fulham FC former midfielder Andrejs Štolcers, who played in Baku FK in the first half of the 2005/06. He is currently working as a technical director at the Eastern SC. Štolcers fondly remembered his days spent in Azerbaijan."

AFC 2019 Awards

"The 2019 AFC Annual Awards was held at the Hong Kong Convention and the Exhibition Center located on the shores of Victoria Harbour, featuring exhibitions, conferences and other major events. Inside the event, there were interesting forms of entertainment at the reception area. An artist wrote guest names with Chinese hieroglyphs as a patterned picture and another artist drew on paper, a caricature portrait of everyone who sat in front of him."

"At the event, which was hosted by Jason Dasey and Lisa Wong, the start of the event also saw a dragon dance that is an integral part of Chinese culture."

"The AFC event was attended by FIFA President Gianni Infantino, AFC President Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa, AFC General Secretary Dato Windsor John, as well as several other FIFA and other football organizations officials such as Timothy Fok from Hong Kong, Kozo Tashima from Japan, Faisal Saleh Hayat from Pakistan, Pengiran Matusin Matasan from Brunei, Valentino San Gil from Guam, Uzbek Ravshan Irmatov and Scotland’s Andy Roxburgh and many more. The attendance of Spanish football legend, Xavi, who now head coach of Qatar's Al Sadd, also added extra color to the event."

"Akram Afif, who plays for Al Sadd but is currently contractually owned by Spain's Villarreal, became the 2019 Asian Footballer of the Year, and Tottenham's 27-year-old Korean striker Son Heung-Min was selected as best Asian International player. In fact, the results were not surprising as the Qatari national team with Akram Afif won the AFC Asian Cup in early 2019 for the first time in their history."

"The Asian Women "Footballer of the Year" was Lyon's Japanese midfielder, Saki Kumagai. At a press conference before the ceremony, she said that she would try to win the title as she was playing well for both the national team and the club."

"His Excellency King Abdullah of Malaysia was awarded the "Diamond of Asia" special award. As an athlete, he won a gold medal with the Malaysian polo team in the 1983 Southeast Asian Games. He later headed the Football Association of Malaysia, was vice-president and member of the executive committee of the AFC and a member of the FIFA Council."

Timothy Fok Tsun-ting
Timothy Fok Tsun-ting

"As for the other candidates, there was also Barcelona B team 20-year-old Japanese winger, Hiroki Abe, who won for the Young Player Award."

"One of the nominees for the Women Coach of the Year was Katayoun Khosrowyar, who is currently running Iran's U20 women's team. When she found out I was from Azerbaijan, she spoke to me in Azerbaijani, "How are you? Are you good?" During the conversation, she said that her father's parents were born in Baku and on the maternal side she is 'Tatar'."

"The 32-year-old coach was born in the US, Oklahoma, but moved to Iran at the age of 17. She is also fighting for women's rights to watch men's football inside the stadiums in Iran. In the competition for the award, she was defeated by Asako Takakura from Japan, who was selected as the best female coach in Asia for the seventh time."

"Taking the opportunity I want to thank Brian Ching, a Hong Kong photographer, who shot my photos at the event and Nedal Omar Bahran, an AFC media consultant who has been helping me in everything I did while in Hong Kong. It was a fun and entertaining event which will remain in my memory also I met with many pleasant acquaintances. Good luck to Asian football, signing a wonderful event in Hong Kong led by Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa!"

By Rasim Movsumzadeh Ballon D'Or Award Juror

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