In the presence of UAE FA boss, Marwan Bin Ghalita and Chairman of the UAE Pro League, Abdulla Naser Al Junaibi, the game’s organizing body PLC held the 18/19 Arabian Gulf League Awards Ceremony.
The annual ritual, under the theme of the Year of Tolerance, was initiated by a message from the nation’s father, the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan on tolerance followed by a short speech Mr. Al-Junaibi and a performance by ‘shadow dancers’ who visually told a story of a footballer.
Earlier in the week, the PLC had narrowed down on the initial shortlist of nominees for six of the eight categories which was announced earlier in the Month.
The first individual to be awarded was Al Wasl’s upcoming footballer Ali Saleh who picked up the Golden Boy award after being selected as the Best Young Player in the Arabian Gulf League.
Khalfan Mubarak who played a crucial role in Al Jazira’s campaign this season was handed the Golden Ball Award on the basis of the Best Emirati Player, whereas Sharjah’s Brazilian playmaker Igor Coronado, whose performance was central to the club lifting its first trophy in 23 years won the Golden Ball for Best Foreign Player. His teammate, goalkeepr Adel Al Hosani was the Golden Glove winner and Dibba’s energetic midfielder Driss Fettouhi lifted the 18/19 Fans’ Player of the Year award.
Sharjah’s Emirati manager, Abdulazi Al Anbari, who not only picked up the best manager award every month across the season but also is the only manager to have lifted the trophy, both as a player and a manager, deservedly won the Leader Award for the Best Coach of the season. His club also witnessed its fans being named as the Fans’ of the season.
Other awards included Al Wasl winning the Club Licensing Award, while Al Ain won the award for the best Online Content.
Two categories was introduced for the first time in the ceremony. Bani Yas’ Michael Ortega who scored a golazo against Al Ain in week 22 was honored with the maiden Goal of the Year award, while twitter based accounts focusing on UAE football – ‘Sport for All’ and ‘UAE Soccer’ shared the first-ever Best Digital Sport Platform award.
The league winners were hand the new league shield which took over 1480 hours to craft.
“You see our goalkeeper is the best, midfielder the best, everything. For me, this vote is very important. The secret was teamwork. We said to the players if we want to fight with the strong teams, we must be together, like a family, like a team. You cannot work as individual players,” said Sharjah’s winning coach Al-Anbari
“We started the camp like a team, started the league like a team and we finished like one, “explained Al-Anbari.
The fans helped us too much this year,” said Al-Anbari said. “They stayed behind us, even when we drew, even when we lost against Al Wasl. With us that’s very important.”