Kerr, Kumagai shortlisted for BBC honour
Kuala Lumpur: Two of Asia's biggest stars are one step away from receiving a major global honour, with Australia's Sam Kerr and Japan's Saki Kumagai among the five nominees for the BBC Women's Footballer of the Year Award.
The duo is joined by Pernille Harder of Denmark, Lindsey Horan of the United States and Ada Hegerberg, Kumagai's Olympique Lyonnais teammate, who won the first ever Women's Ballon d'Or in 2018.
The publicly-voted award, which will be announced on May 22, has never been won by an Asian player since its inception in 2015, and this year's edition is the first time two Asian players have reached the top five.
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Speaking to the BBC, Kerr - whose past 12 months have seen her top the scoring charts in both Australia's W-League and the American NWSL in addition to being named captain of her national team - said she wanted to win the award for her fellow Matildas' squad members.
The nominees have been announced and now it’s time to pick the winner.— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) April 18, 2019
Who is your choice for BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year 2019?
Vote + full T&Cs here: https://t.co/JFW9nowYfp
Voting closes at 09:00 BST (08:00 GMT) on Thursday, 2 May 2019 #bbcwfoty pic.twitter.com/3Zargfr7pH
"It would be great to win this award so I can share it with my teammates," said the 25-year-old forward.
"It's not all been about me. Winning this award would be a nod to all the girls who have helped me in the team and given us success over the last year."
While Kerr has been banging in the goals, Japanese captain Saki Kumagai has been responsible for keeping them out for both her national team and European champions Olympique Lyonnais.
A FIFA Women's World Cup-winner at the age of 20 in 2011, Kumagai's last 12 months have seen her claim her first AFC Women's Asian Cup in Jordan, and a third successive UEFA Women's Champions League title with all-conquering Lyon, who remain on target for a fourth title this season.
"Becoming Asian champions and European champions, they were big tournaments for me and they were the best moments from last year," Kumagai told the BBC.
"Whatever I achieve is not down to me, I have to thank my teammates. If it's me on my own I can't win."
As the Continent's two top-ranked teams, Australia and Japan will represent Asia at the FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019, which begins in Paris on June 7.
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