ABU DHABI, 11th August, 2023 (WAM) - The Emirates Palace Mandarin Oriental in Abu Dhabi set the stage for a glittering celebration as the UAE Pro League rolled out the red carpet for its 10th annual awards ceremony for the 2022-2023 sports season. The night was attended by notable figures from across the region.
The event saw the esteemed presence of Abdulla Naser Al Jneibi, UAE Pro League Chairman, members of the UAE Pro League's board of directors, representatives of sponsor institutions, club delegates, and a select array of sports and media personalities.
Opening the event, Al Jneibi warmly welcomed attendees and expressed pride in the remarkable achievements of the past season, which witnessed significant fan engagement.
He gratefully acknowledged the unwavering support from the nation's visionary leadership, which, he stated "provided us with the impetus to continue pushing the boundaries in football excellence."
The UAE Pro League Chairman went on to highlight the invaluable contributions from strategic partners, sponsors, and various media outlets. "Together," he stated, "we journeyed through a pathway of success, achieving our desired objectives and fulfilling our strategic mission."
He expressed gratitude to the professional clubs, praising their collective efforts in crafting a remarkable season filled with memorable moments.
Al Jneibi further added, "Every nominee tonight is a winner. Everyone shined as true stars. I extend my heartiest congratulations to all; there are no losers. Let us embark on a new season, building on our past achievements and aiming for even greater heights."
The ceremony was also an opportunity to appreciate and acknowledge the significant roles of partners and sponsors in organizing and developing the various competitions organized by the UAE Pro League.
Major honorees included ADNOC (Abu Dhabi National Oil Company), Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, 'The UAE President Initiatives', Emirates, Rasasi Perfumes, Al Nabooda Automobiles, Rixos Hotels, Nike, and several major broadcasting channels such as Abu Dhabi Sports, Dubai Sports, and Sharjah Sports.
An accompanying exhibition at the gala presented a retrospective of the UAE Pro League's evolution, displaying iconic trophies and awards. In parallel, guests were introduced to the newly inaugurated UAE PL store, boasting over 45 unique products.
This initiative aims to bolster professional clubs, diversify revenues, promote the UAE Pro League's distinctive brand, and align with its strategic vision for 2020-2030. Media institutions and digital sports platforms were also recognized for their exceptional season-long coverage.
The exciting ceremony also set the stage for the unveiling of the upcoming 2023-2024 season, which is set to commence with the first round of the "ADNOC Pro League" matches on 18th and 19th August.
The gala culminated in honoring the standout performers of the 2022-2023 season. The winners were selected based on advanced analytics from Opta, followed by a comprehensive voting mechanism involving fans, players, and the media.
The awards for the 2022-2023 season were presented across three categories: Voting-based category, Statistics-based category, and Criteria-based category.
Al Jazira's Ali Mabkhout, recognized as the ADNOC Pro League All-Time Top Scorer clinched the Golden Ball for Best Emirati Player. Meanwhile, Shabab Al Ahli's Federico Cartabia was awarded the Golden Ball for Best Foreign Player. Al Ain's winger Soufian Rahimi, captured fans' hearts, earning him the Fans' Player of the Year.
Sharjah FC's strategic mastermind, Romanian Olroiu Cosmin, was named Best Coach, grabbing the Leader Award. Sharjah's Goalkeeper Adel Al Hosani, walked away with the coveted Golden Glove. The award for the Goal of the Year went to Al Wasl's Fabio De Lima.
Rising star Harib Suhail from Shabab Al Ahli bagged the Golden Boy for Best U23 Emirati Player; meanwhile, Al Ain's Erik Jorgens secured Golden Boy for Best Player (Resident/Born).
In a show of on-pitch brilliance, Al Ain's Togolese forward, Laba Kodjo, clinched the Golden Shoe for the ADNOC Pro League Top Scorer winner for the 2022/23 season. While the Golden Shoe for ADIB Cup Top Scorer went to Khorfakkan's Aylton Filipe.
The U21 Pro League saw a trio of top scorers: Ittihad Kalba's Aldo Parra, Al Wasl's Luiz Guilherme, and Al Jazira's Carloc Zapata, all sharing the Silver Shoe.
Al Ain FC further stamped their class, earning the Professional Excellence in Club Licensing award. Al Jazira celebrated a win with the Fans' League Award for the 2022-23 season.
Fantasy football enthusiasts saw Ihab Nayef crowned as the ADNOC Pro League's top Fantasy Manager.
To cap the night, the 2022-2023 "Dream Team" was revealed, featuring football elites: Adel Al Hosani, Erik Jorgens, Lucas Pimenta, Bandar Al Ahbabi, Harib Suhail, Federico Cartabia, Firas Ben Larbi, Soufian Rahimi, Fabio De Lima, Laba Kodjo, and Ali Mabkhout.