Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Zheng Zhi has become the first Chinese player to be named AFC Player of the Year since Fan Zhiyi claimed Asian football’s highest individual accolade in 2001.
Guangzhou Evergrande skipper Zheng, who collected the prestigious award from AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa,  led by example throughout the Chinese side’s victorious AFC Champions League campaign, with the 33-year-old’s assured performances throughout the tournament as well as his telling contribution in China regaining their consistency following the departure of Jose Antonio Camacho and moving to within one point of qualification for the 2015 AFC Asian Cup.

The decision to award the former Celtic and Charlton Athletic midfielder the 2013 AFC Player of the Year award ahead of Iran star Javad Nekonam and Korea Republic’s Ha Dae-sung marks something of a reversal of fortune for Zhang, after he had to settle for third last year behind Iranian legend Ali Karimi and recipient Lee Keun-ho.
"I am very excited..after coming last year without award its very special this time….there is a special feeling of winning this award at the age of 33. It’s a big occasion for me to win this award," Zheng said after winning the coveted trophy.
"This season has been fantastic season not only for me but the whole teammates,...we are looking for the unique treble after winning the ACL and the league so it's been a memorable one. 
"Marchello Lippi has made the club more matured and confident and we know our strength and weakness more than ever. 
"Honestly, I thought that I would not win award again after I was confined of being only nominee last year but it’ s down to my teammates without whom it would have been impossible to win this again. 
"I am not young anymore but I still have desire to produce my best not only for the club but for my national team as well. 
"Actually there are lot of talented players in the club and national team coming through the ranks, they are the future of Chinese football. I would continue playing with my national team but at the same time hope that more youngsters break in at the national fold. 
“Next year will be quite difficult but we will keep on working hard and win more laurels to Guangzhou Evergrande."  -AFC.

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