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Revealed: The AFC Cup All-time XI, as voted by you!


Kuala Lumpur: The unstoppable strikers, the impassable defenders and the impossible talents - in the eyes of Asia’s fans, they are the outstanding players in AFC Cup history .

Over the last six weeks football watchers in their tens of thousands have cast their votes for more than 60 shortlisted players from Asia and beyond, and in every position.

The result is today’s AFC All-time XI – A celebration of the greats who have graced the tournament since its inception in 2004, collecting 10 winners’ medals and scoring over 130 AFC Cup goals between them.

There are legends everywhere you look, so join the-AFC.com in paying tribute to the achievements of our Dream Team, while possibly lamenting the fact that they’ll never play together in a real match.

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GOALKEEPER
Fahad Talib (Iraq)
Club: Air Force Club

Honours - AFC Cup winner (2016, 2017, 2018): He only spent three seasons in the AFC Cup. He also won three consecutive titles, and with a record like that our team is sure to be safe hands.


DEFENCE

Aidil Zafuan (Malaysia)
Clubs: Negeri Sembilan, Johor Darul Ta’zim
Honours - AFC Cup winner (2015)

A key defensive figure in Johor Darul Ta’zim’s breakthrough title win in 2015, Aidil Zafuan (pictured below) has confirmed his quality many times since, and forms part of a solid back three.

Hatem Aqel (Jordan)
Clubs: Al Faisaly, That Ras Club
Honours: AFC Cup winner (2005, 2006), AFC Cup runner-up (2007)

Part of the Al Faisaly side that reached three consecutive AFC Cup finals in the mid 2000s, Hatem Aqel was the most popular choice among voters in the defenders category, earning just shy of 30 per cent of the votes.

Ahmad Al Saleh (Syria)
Clubs: Al Jaish, Al Shorta (SYR), Al Arabi (KUW), Al Ahed FC
Honours: AFC Cup winner (2019)

The only player from Syria in our final team, and an AFC Cup stalwart for nearly a decade, Al Saleh marshalled an Al Ahed defence which conceded just once in the seven matches he started on the way to the 2019 title.


MIDFIELD

Boaz Solossa (Indonesia)
Club: Persipura Jayapura
AFC Cup goals: 16

Capable of playing in several attacking roles, Indonesia’s Boaz Solossa fits into our team on the left side of midfield having scored 16 goals in just 24 career AFC Cup matches.

Hassan Abdel-Fattah (Jordan)
Clubs: Al Wehdat, Al Karamah, Kuwait SC
AFC Cup goals: 23

With five trips to the knockout stage in nine AFC Cup seasons over a 14-year span, with 23 goals for good measure, Hassan Abdel-Fattah is arguably one of the finest players not to have won the tournament, and he starts in the centre of midfield in our team.

Nguyen Quang Hai (Vietnam)
Club: Hanoi FC
AFC Cup goals: 2

Alongside Abdel-Fattah is Nguyen Quang Hai, who, at 25, still has plenty of years to make a further impact on the competition, but has already shown his class, particularly in his excellent 2019 campaign. Quang Hai surged into the team with 60 per cent of the votes in our central midfield category.

Riko Simanjuntak (Indonesia)
Club: Persija Jakarta
AFC Cup assists: 10

With 10 assists in 14 AFC Cup games, and an incredible 78 per cent of the votes in our wide midfielder category, Riko Simanjuntak was the fans’ overwhelming choice to play on the right side of midfield, something the team’s forwards would no doubt be pleased with.


ATTACK

Hammadi Ahmed (Iraq)
Club: Air Force Club
AFC Cup goals: 27
Honours: AFC Cup winner (2016, 2017, 2018), MVP (2016, 2018), top scorer (2016)

Hammadi Ahmed’s long list of AFC Cup honours has just grown further with selection in our fans’ all-time team. A key figure in the all-conquering Air Force Club team of the late 2010s, Ahmed’s 27 goals and three consecutive titles is the stuff of tournament legend.

Mohamad Ghaddar (Lebanon)
Clubs: Nejmeh, Kelantan, Tripoli Club
AFC Cup goals: 26
Honours: AFC Cup runner-up (2005), top scorer (2007)

Popular on both sides of the continent, Ghaddar’s longevity, and 26 AFC Cup goals, made him the most popular man in our strikers’ category, receiving over 40 per cent of the votes.

Ali Ashfaq (Maldives)
Clubs: Club Valencia, New Radiant SC, VB Addu, TC Sports Club
AFC Cup goals: 29

From his first AFC Cup match in 2004 to his most recent in 2020, Ali Ashfaq has always been deadly in front of goal, and his career haul of 29 has been duly rewarded with a place in our all-time team, making him the only man from the Maldives to feature.


HEAD COACH

Nizar Mahrous (Syria)
Clubs: Shabab Al Ordon, Al Faisaly, Arbil, Tripoli Club, Al Jazeera
Honours: AFC Cup winner (2007), runner-up (2012)

Richly experienced in the competition, where he led five different clubs, Syria’s Nizar Mahrous holds the distinction of steering two different clubs, from two different countries, to AFC Cup Finals.

He lifted the trophy with Jordan’s Shabab Al Ordon in 2007, then returned to the final with Iraq’s Arbil five years later, making him one of the tournament’s all-time standouts in the dugout.


AFC Cup All-time XI
Goalkeeper: Fahad Talib; Defenders: Aidil Zafuan, Hatem Aqel, Ahmad Al Saleh; Midfielders: Boaz Solossa, Hassan Abdel-Fattah, Nguyen Quang Hai, Riko Simanjuntak; Forwards: Hammadi Ahmed, Mohamad Ghaddar, Ali Ashfaq.
Head coach: Nizar Mahrous.

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