KUALA LUMPUR, Nov. 18 (Xinhua) -- Chinese national football team skipper Zheng Zhi has been nominated for the 2012 AFC Player of the Year award, competing for the top individual award of Asian footballer with the other four contenders.
The 32-year-old midfielder has brought his Guangzhou Evergrande to the quarterfinal of this year's AFC Champions League while defending the league title in China. He is also the key player of the Chinese national team coached by Spaniard Jose Antonio Camacho.
Zheng signed with Guangzhou Evergrande in 2010 after spells in former English Premier League team Charlton Athletic and Scottish giants Celtic.
He will compete for the award with 2004 AFC Player of the Year Ali Karimi, South Korean Lee Keun-ho, who helped Ulsan Hyundai win the AFC Champions League this year, Australian defender Lucas Neill and Iran national team centerback Mohsen Bengar.
The Japanese national team which won silver in London Olympics has contributed all three nominees of the 2012 AFC Women's Player of the year, including the captain and 2011 FIFA Women's World Player of the Year Homare Sawa, Aya Miyama, who won the 2011 AFC Women Player of the Year, and their teammate Yuki Ogimi.
English Premier League team Fulham's Australian goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, Manchester United's Japanese player Shinji Kagawa and Inter Milan's defender Yuto Nagatomo were nominated for the newly launched AFC Asian International Player of the Year.
Kagawa was one of the top contenders for last year's AFC player of the year, but the award eventually went to Server Djeparov of Uzbekistan as it would be only awarded to those present at the AFC Annual Awards gala.
Meanwhile, Brazilian players have dominated the AFC Foreign Player of the Year award, which is also newly launched this year. Among the nominees are Sepahan's striker Bruno Correa, 2012 AFC Champions League top scorer and former AC Milan player Ricardo Oliveira as well as 2012 AFC Cup champions Kuwait SC's midfielder Rogerio de Assis Silva Coutinho.
The winners will be unveiled at the AFC Annual Awards gala to be held in Kuala Lumpur on November 29.