Matildas co-captain Lisa De Vanna and star forward Caitlin Foord have been announced as nominees for the 2016 AFC Women’s Player of the Year.
In a media release, the Matildas duo were named alongside Chinese forward Tan Ruyin.
It is the first time De Vanna and Foord have been nominated for the AFC’s top women’s award but De Vanna and Foord join a growing list of Australians including Collette McCallum (2007), Kate Gill (2010 winner), Katrina Gorry (2014 winner) and Elise Kellond-Knight (2015).
“I am honoured to be nominated for the AFC Women’s Player of the Year award alongside two top class players,” De Vanna told The Women’s Game.
“It is recognition not just for me but also for Caitlin [Foord], our Matildas teammates, coaching and support staff.”
De Vanna co-captained Australia to their first Olympics appearance in 12 years with the striker scoring in both the Olympic qualifiers in March and the Olympics Games in Rio.
“Pulling on the Australian jersey is always a privilege and to wear the Australian colours at the Olympic Games again is a memory I won’t soon forget.”
A stalwart of the game, De Vanna has made over 100 appearances for the Matildas including three FIFA World Cups, four AFC Asian Cups and two Olympic Games. She has also been nominated for the FIFA Player of the Year (2007), the FIFA Puskas Award for Goal of the Year (2013) and been a winner of the FFA Player of the Year.
Meanwhile Foord battled back from a broken collarbone suffered early in 2016 to assist Australia to the Rio 2016 Olympics. The 21 year old was one of Australia’s star players, scoring against world no. 2 and eventual Olympic gold medallists Germany. Foord is the 2011 FIFA Best Young Player at the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup and 2011 AFC Young Player of the Year, in line could capture the rare AFC double.
“I am very proud of Caitlin who, since her debut, has grown into a player we can all be proud of. She is developing into the next star to carry Australian women’s football forward.”
Tan Ruyin has made ten appearances at FIFA tournaments, with her debut at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Canada 2014. She competed at the Olympic Games in Rio in August and will be remembered for scoring for China PR from 40 yards against South Africa.
De Vanna and Foord will be looking to become the third Australian to win Asia’s highest honour joining Kate Gill and Matildas teammate Katrina Gorry.
The 2016 AFC Awards will be held in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates, on 1 December 2016.