Voting for the 2020/21 Arabian Gulf League Awards is under way following the confirmation of the nominees this week, where champions Al Jazira are unsurprisingly well represented.
The shortlist for the awards, which will take place on August 16, were released on Monday – the same day voting opened – with the ballot process to conclude on Thursday.
The category for best Emirati is dominated predictably by Jazira stars, as defender Khalifa Al Hammadi, midfielder Abdullah Ramadan and top scorer Ali Mabkhout lead a 10-strong cast that also includes Sharjah’s Shaheen Abdulrahman, Baniyas’ Sultan Al Shamsi and Al Wasl’s naturalised forward Fabio De Lima.
Mabkhout won last season’s golden boot after scoring 25 goals as Jazira secured a third UAE championship. It represented the second time the UAE's all-time leading goalscorer had topped the seasonal charts.
Meanwhile, teammates Milos Kosanovic and Thulani Serero have been nominated for best foreign player alongside, among others, 2020/21 Baniyas quartet Sasa Ivkovic, Nicolas Gimenez, Gaston Suarez and Joao Pedro. Pedro, whose 18 goals helped the Abu Dhabi club finish runners-up, has since signed for Al Wahda. Al Nasr duo Ryan Mendes and Toze are also up for the award.
As for the best coach award, Shabab Al Ahli manager Mahdi Ali constitutes a strong contender for the gong together with Jazira’s Marcel Keizer and Baniyas’ Daniel Isaila. Shabab Al Ahli, who finished third in the table, thrived under the former UAE national team manager, winning the Super Cup in January and then adding the Arabian Gulf Cup and the President’s Cup. At one point, the Dubai side were unbeaten in 25 matches.
This season’s awards will also include a new category: the Golden Boy for the best young player designated as “resident” or “born in the UAE”. That prize will run alongside the traditional Golden Boy for the best young Emirati.
The winners are voted by the league’s 14 club managers and team captains, the media and supporters. Fans can cast their votes through the league’s official website and mobile app, while they will also be able to vote through the league’s official social media accounts for the fans’ player of the year, goal of the season, and best online sports platform.
The Arabian Gulf League Awards were first held in 2013 but were not staged last year after the 2019/20 season was cancelled early because of the coronavirus pandemic. The new campaign kicks off on August 19.
2020/21 AGL awards nominees:
Best Emirati: Abdullah Ramadan, Ali Mabkhout, Khalifa Al Hammadi (Al Jazira), Abdulaziz Haikal (Shabab Al Ahli), Abdulsalam Mohammed, Majid Rashid (Ittihad Kalba), Fabio Lima (Al Wasl), Suhail Al Noubi, Sultan Al Shamsi (Baniyas), Shaheen Abdulrahman (Sharjah).
Best foreign player: Thulani Serero, Milos Kosanovic (Al Jazira), Sasa Ivkovic, Nicolas Gimenez, Gaston Suarez, Joao Pedro (Baniyas), Ryan Mendes, Toze (Al Nasr), Dodo (Khorfakkan), Federico Cartabia (Shabab Al Ahli).
Best coach: Mahdi Ali (Shabab Al Ahli), Marcel Keizer (Al Jazira), Daniel Isaila (Baniyas), Abdulaziz Al Anbari (Sharjah), Jorge Da Silva (Ittihad Kalba).
Best goalkeeper: Fahad Al Dhanhani (Baniyas), Adel Al Hosani (Sharjah), Jamal Abdullah (Ittihad Kalba), Ali Khaseif (Al Jazira), Majed Naser (Shabab Al Ahli).
Best young Emirati player: Majid Rashid (Ittihad Kalba), Ahmed Al Hammadi (Al Dhafra), Hussain Mahdi (Al Nasr), Ali Saleh (Al Wasl), Khalid Salem (Hatta).
Best young player in the resident category: Igor Jesus (Shabab Al Ahli), Lucas Pimenta (Al Wahda), Ahmed Abunamous (Baniyas), Glauber Lima (Al Nasr), Oumar Traore, Mohamed Rabie (Al Jazira), Luan Pereira (Sharjah), Braian Ramirez (Hatta), Moftau Owolabi, Mohamed Mustafa (Fujairah).