In this article we have two awards that have been decided by Ahdaaf members and fans across the world. First of all, the manager of the year award was contested by Yahya Golmohammadi (Zob Ahan), Cosmin Olaroiu (Al-Ahli Dubai), Christian Gross (Al-Ahli Jeddah) and Zlatko Dalic (Al-Ain.) It seems that Cosmin Olaroiu’s Asian Champions League run was enough to get the fans on his side, as his Al-Ahli side bounced back from a disastrous first half to the year to embark on a historical period:
Cosmin’s 2015 in numbers:
Trophies: 1 – U.A.E Super Cup
Total: P – 51 W – 27 D – 14 L – 10
First Half of 2015: P – 27 W – 12 D – 7 L – 7
Second Half of 2015: P – 24 W – 15 D – 6 L – 3
With 16 nominees hailing from the 4 best leagues in the Middle East – U.A.E, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Qatar – it would only come down to the final four by January the 1st, 2016. The final four were predicted to have made it by the Ahdaaf team, but we needed the fans’ opinions via the Twitter polls to see how Middle Eastern football followers see it. Here are the final four, with the winner being announced last:
Yasser Al-Shahrani – Al-Hilal, Saudi Arabia
Yasser Al-Shahrani may be an odd choice for many, but when a full back wins the hearts of millions then there must be a reason. Place him on the right, place him on the left, Al-Shahrani will always perform. It even came to a point where fans were praising him for his performances that were even better on the left hand side as opposed to his favoured right.
Although done by the vote of many Al-Hilal fans and possibly not fully deserved, Yasser Al-Shahrani was crowned the best GCC Player of the Year at the Dubai Globe Soccer Awards. He overcame the likes of Mohammad Al-Sahlawi and Omar Abdulrahman to be crowned as the GCC POTY and did the same yesterday when he turned out victor over Al-Sahlawi, Yaseen Hamza and Al-Ahli’s Syrian starlet Omar Al-Soma.
The only question is how far will Al-Shahrani go? We know how GCC players are often reluctant to play abroad. His place on the cover of FIFA 16 Middle East was another achievement he earned, and that will no doubt have increased his popularity, but it will only count if he can form a good cause for a move abroad. With his shy character, it’s unlikely that we will ever see Al-Shahrani ever ply his trade away from Al-Hilal.
Hassan Al-Haydos – Al-Sadd, Qatar
Hassan Al-Haydos is our 2015 Qatar Player of the Year and it’s no big surprise. The 26 year old had an impressive calendar year, leading from the front for both club and country. It started with a blip, Qatar going out at the Asian Cup group stage although Al-Haydos scored a goal. As the year progressed, however, he grew in stature and achieved a number of personal bests – scoring in the league, cup and Asia for the first time before ending the 2014/15 season with a career high 17 goals. To top it all, QFA went on to name him Player of the Season in May.
With the start of the new 2015/16 season, Al-Haydos has continued in a similar vein of form, scoring 4 goals and making 3 assists so far for Al-Sadd. At the international level, he celebrated getting the captain’s armband by netting five times for Qatar and leading the team to a 100% record in the World Cup/Asian Cup qualifiers after 6 matches. It ensured that Qatar became the first team to reach the 2019 Asian Cup and the fourth round of World Cup qualifiers.
Mehdi Taremi – Persepolis, Iran
Mehdi Taremi is 2015’s Persian Gulf Pro League Player of the Year. Taremi was discovered by Ali Daei and transferred from Iran’s Azadegan League (2nd Tier) to Persian Gulf Pro League’s Persepolis. He went on to impress the fans with great performances against Saba and Esteghlal at the end of 2014, which made him a regular starter for the Reds in 2015.
He impressed Perspolis’s fans with his performances in the Asian Champions League, giving an amazing back-heel assist to Persepolis’s deceased captain – Hadi Norouzi – against Lekhwiya, and scoring a beautiful chip penalty against Al-Nassr. He was also praised for intelligently assisting Al-Hilal’s Digao who scored an own goal (Perspolis’s winner) against themselves in the Azadi Stadium.
He earned a call up to Iran’s National Team (Team Melli) and impressed all Iranians with his great performances and perfect chemistry with Azmoun. He also scored an impressive amount of 5 Goals in 7 Games for Iran.
He has been criticized for his “finishing” throughout the 2015/16 Persian Gulf Pro League season, but it seems like he is improving in the last couple of games. Regardless of the criticisms about his finishing, he is Persian Gulf Pro League’s 2015/16 leading top scorer until now with 10 Goals (2 more than Beitsaeid in the 2nd place).
Taremi also gets many penalties for Persepolis and Iran (against teams like Bunyodkor, Al-Nassr in ACL – Saipa, Zob Ahan, and many other teams in Persian Gulf Pro League, and Guam in the International games). Taremi’s movement off the ball is also incredible and he has amazing decision making which has been evident in games like: Perspolis vs. Lekhwiya, Tehran Derby, Iran vs. Guam, etc.
He has amazing potential and could become one of Iran’s best players (with many comparing him to the likes of Ali Daei and Vahid Hashemian), and he also has received good offers from European teams. However, he has claimed that he wants to stay in Perspolis for the remainder of the season and will most likely move to Europe in the summer of 2016.
Despite enduring a 2015 that was topped by Ahmed Khalil in terms of awards and team achievement, Omar also known as “Amoory” had a wonderful year and his fans were behind him as always. With a majority of the votes from the United Arab Emirates going to Amoory himself, we are going to look at why he’s deserved so and not just due to his fuzzy hair and the large fan base that follows him.
By and large, the best creator in the region (aesthetically and statistically), it’s a certain shame that Amoory’s 2015 lacked a lethal striker. Asamoah Gyan was injured during the early stages of 2015 before moving to Shanghai in the summer, while Emmanuel Emenike failed to replace Gyan by any means. That hasn’t stopped Omar from scoring himself, and continuing with his creative duties. The partnership that he has struck up with his brother, Mohammad, recently is also another thing to look out for.
In the end, he lost out to Ahmed Khalil for the AFC Player of the Year title and the GCC Player of the Year award to Yasser Al-Shahrani, but that hasn’t taken anything away from his on-pitch performances that helped Al-Ain to the 2014-15 AG League title and being crowned as the 2015-16 Winter Champions of the AG League.
With recent figures claiming that he earns almost $4m a year in wages (excl. bonuses and advertising), it’s no wonder that the player has not even thought about plying his trade in the lower European leagues. Although with Omar only being 24 years old at the time of writing, he still has many years ahead and we hope he continues.
Omar Abdulrahman in 2015:
Games – Club: 34
National Team Caps: 13