Sharjah’s New champions Sparkles on AGL night
As Dubai hosted the prestigious Arabian Gulf League (AGL) Awards for the very first time in seven seasons, it came as no surprise as to who shone on the night.
The Madinat Jumeirah laid out the red carpet for the awards gala and in what was a slick ceremony, it was freshly-minted League champions Sharjah who took a bulk of the accolades.
‘The King’ won three awards – The Leader Award for Best Coach, Golden Ball for Best Foreign Player and the Golden Glove Award for Best Goalkeeper.
Sharjah’s Abdulaziz Al Anbari, who became the first Emirati to win the Arabian Gulf League, quite rightly won The Leader Award for Best coach.
Al Anbari, who had also turned out as a player for the club, beat out Shabab Al Ahli manager Rodolfo Arruabarrena and Ayman El Ramadi of Ajman, the other two on the shortlist. Al Anbari, who had taken over in Octover 2017, plotted Sharjah’s first League title in almost a quarter of a century.
Arruabarrena, who formerly coached Al Wasl, won the Arabian Gulf Cup and the prestigious President’s Cup.
Meanwhile, Sharjah’s attacking midfielder Igor Coronado beat out competition from teammate Welliton Soares and Al Wahda ace Sebastian Tagliabue to win the Golden Ball for Best Foreign Player.
The 26-year-old Coronado has so far plundered 17 goals, off which eight were penalties. The Brazilian, who joined Sharjah from Serie B club Palermo, also has nine assists.
Adel Al Hosani, who has seven clean sheets and has conceded 29 goals in 25 matches so far, won the Golden Glove Award for Best Goalkeeper. The 29-year-old, who spent nine seasons with Al Wahda before joining Sharjah in 2017, overcame stiff challenge from Al Ain’s Khalid Eisa and Al Wahda’s young shot stopper Mohammed Al Shamsi, the other two nominees.
The Golden Ball Award for Best Emirati Player went to Al Jazira’s Khalfan Mubarak. The 24-year-old, formerly with Al Ahli (now rebranded Shabab Al Ahli), is 14th on the leading goalscorers’ list with 11 and has the most assists with 12 to his name.
He denied club mate Ali Mabkhout a second award after the frontman had won the award in 2017, as well as Shabab Al Ahli’s Ahmed Khalil.
The night had begun with Ali Saleh winning The Golden Boy Award for Best Young Player. He was nominated along with Al Jazira’s Khalifa Al Hammadi and Mohammed Khalfan of Al Ain.
And Driss Fettouhi, Dibba’s 29-year-old midfielder, was voted Fans’ Player of the Year. The others in the list were Khalid Eisa and Igor Coronado.
Michael Ortega’s bicyle kick against Al Ain was adjudged the Goal of the Year. The others in the list were Khamis Ismail of Al Wasl and Al Ain’s Tsukasa Shioatani.
Al Ain won the Best Online Content Award.
Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum gave out the awards in the presence of Marwan bin Ghalita, President of the UAE Football Association and Abdulla Naser Al Junaibi, Chairman of the UAE Pro League.
A newly designed Arabian Gulf League shield was also unveiled and Sharjah will be the new owners following the final fixture of the season. The previous shield will be retained by Al Ain, who won the League last season.