Kuala Lumpur: Ali Adnan Kadhim has been named the men's AFC Youth Player of the Year following his superb individual displays and key contribution in helping Iraq reach the semi-finals of the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup.
"This award is a momentous moment for Iraqi youth football,” said Iraq FA official Waleed Tabra, who received the trophy on behalf of Ali Adnan Khadim from Dr. Hafez Al Medlej, AFC Executive Committee Member and Chairman of the AFC Marketing Committee.
“This is the second time an Iraqi has won this award after Mohanad Abdulraheem Karrar won award last year.
“It is something amazing and I believe also that the Iraqi youth team that played in the most recent competition was the best so far.
“I’m sure this award will be a source of pride for the national youth team and all of Iraq”
Kadhim scored the stoppage-time equaliser as Iraq opened their campaign in Turkey by coming from two goals down to draw 2-2 with England and was also on target as the Iraqis came agonising close to a place in the final, with Uruguay needing a leveller three minutes from time to send the semi-final into extra-time and then penalties.
The hugely talented 19-year-old also displayed his composure and set-piece ability by successfully converting in the shootout defeat against the South Americans and as Iraq triumphed over Korea Republic 5-4 on penalties to book their place in the semis and gain revenge for the shootout defeat at the hands of the East Asians in the 2012 AFC U-19 Championship final.
The son of Adnan Kadhim, who helped Iraq win the AFC Youth Championship in 1977, and the nephew of one-time Iraq international goal-scoring record holder Ali Kadhim has football percolating through his DNA and is already a feature in the senior Iraq national team, playing four AFC Asian Cup 2015 qualifiers and three 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers during the year.