Neil Taylor Picks up Player Award at the third Asian Football Awards (AFA)
Aditi Chauhan, the West Ham United Ladies FC and India national goalkeeper, won the Woman in Football Award
Swansea City FC and Wales defender Neil Taylor picked up the Player Award at the third Asian Football Awards (AFA) in a glittering ceremony at Wembley Stadium on Thursday evening.
Taylor overcame a challenge from Wolverhampton Wanderers FC captain Danny Batth and the West Bromwich Albion FC and England U17 striker Adil Nabi, currently on loan at Delhi Dynamos FC in the Indian Premier League.
As well as cementing his place as a regular in Swansea’s defence, the 26-year-old Taylor will be off to Euro 2016 next year after helping Wales qualify for a major tournament for the first time since the 1958 World Cup.
Taylor, whose mother is from Kolkata in India, also won the award in 2013.
He said: “It’s a great feeling to win this award. I am pleased to be here tonight to pick it up, it means a lot to me. Hopefully Asian football flourishes throughout the years.My advice to any young aspiring player is to sacrifice. You have to be willing to sacrifice and
follow your own path of where you want to go, where you want to be and what you want to
achieve. You also need to have people who are willing to go on that journey with you.
Whatever background you are from, it doesn’t matter. You can make it to the top. Hopefully this can inspire the next generation of footballers.”
The judging panel for the awards included ex-England internationals Jermain Defoe, Graeme Le Saux and Steve Coppell, and Asian Football Awards founder Baljit Rihal said: “Our vision has constantly been to support the growth of Asians in football in the UK. Since our inaugural event in 2012, the media attention and support from all across the industry has been encouraging. “I can proudly say that the Asian Football Awards has been, and will continue to be, a significant platform to inspire more Asians into every aspect of the game.
“However, there is still much work to be done, as progress in increasing representation across the industry has been far too slow.more…“Our hope is that these awards will once again raise the Asians in football debate in the mainstream media and that influential organisations make an intensive effort to help rectify this longstanding imbalance.”
Aston Villa defender Easah Suliman, who recently represented England at the Under-17 World Cup in Chile, was named AFA Young Player. Two years ago Suliman became the first player with Pakistani heritage to captain an England representative side.
He said: “I feel very honoured and privileged to be here at such a great event. Neil Taylor is a massive inspiration for what he has achieved with Wales and Swansea. If I can emulate him I will have a decent career.”
South Korean star Ji So-yun, who plays for Chelsea Ladies in the Women’s Super League,
claimed the South East Asian Award ahead of Southampton’s Maya Yoshida and Swansea’s KiSung-Yueng.
Gurjit Singh, from Kidderminster Harriers, was the winner of the Non-League Award, while Aditi Chauhan, the West Ham United Ladies FC and India national goalkeeper, won the Woman in Football Award.