Al Jazira forwards dominate AGL awards
Picture courtesy: @Sport360
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Al Jazira’s prolific scorer Mirko Vucinic claimed both the Best Foreign Player and Top Scorer awards, while his partner up front Ali Mabkhout walked away with the Emirati Player of the Year award at the Arabian Gulf League’s (AGL) awards function at the St Regis Abu Dhabi hotel here late on Sunday night.
AGL champions Al Ain, who had nominations across all categories, saw Zlatko Dalic walk away with the Coach of the Year award after he helped the Boss win their third in the last four seasons.
Vucinic, who scored 25 goals to stamp his class last season after joining from Serie A giants Juventus, said of his grand double: “I’m happy and it’s beautiful, very beautiful.”
But the Montenegrin did, however, express his disappointment in not transforming his individual success into glory for the team.
“I hope this is the first of my many trophies but I would have preferred to win them with the team. I want to return here as champion next season,” the 31-year-old said.
It has also been a remarkable season for 24-year-old Al Jazira striker Mabkhout, who also won the Golden Boot in the Gulf Cup in Saudi Arabia and in the Asian Cup in Australia in January.
He emerged as the AGL’s top scorer among Emiratis with 16 goals as Al Jazira signed off the season in second spot behind Al Ain.
“I’m very pleased and happy that I won this award and it’s a great honour,” he said as he proudly showed off his trophy.
But he added: “To win this title without the team is nothing as these are personal things and they mean nothing without the team winning.”
Al Ain coach Dalic dedicated his award to his players, saying: “My team did a great job in the league and I’m proud of them. We played well and played fantastic football for 15 months, but only in the last five days we lost two games.
“It was disappointing to go out of the Asian Champions League. We expected to win more trophies, but I would say we looked like a team all through last season.”
Al Wahda’s Ahmad Rashid was declared Rookie of the Year and the youngster was thrilled to receive the prize.
“I was very low in confidence at the start but I kept improving after Esmail Mattar’s pep talks. I was trying to perform well and was working hard despite the team slipping down the table towards the latter part of the season,” said the defender, who added that he wanted to continue his good work next season.