Western Sydney Wanderers’ manager Tony Popovic is in contention to win Asia’s manager of the year after steering his side to Champions League glory.
However, he will struggle to make the November 30 ceremony with the Sydney derby taking place the day before. The rules of the Asian federation state that a nominee must be present to be eligible to win the award but with the award ceremony being held in Manilla, Popovic may struggle to make it in time.
The 41-year-old has become an instant success since being named as the inaugural manager of the expansion club in 2012, winning the 2012-13 minor premiership, making the last two grand finals and leading his side to the recent Asian Champions League final – which they won over two legs.
Popovic is considered a favourite for the award due to the failures of Asian sides at the World Cup where all representatives failed to progress past the group stage.
The Wanderers currently lie in ninth place in the A-League, losing all three matches this year but still have two games in hand.
Manager of the Japanese Women’s side, Norio Sasaki, and Qatar’s under 20 national coach, Spaniard Felix Sanchez, are other contenders for the award while Al-Hilal manager Laurentiu Reghecampf is unlikely to win having only been in the federation since May of this year.
Despite winning the ACL Player of the Tournament, goalkeeper Ante Covic was omitted from the player of the year category, while Al-Hilal anti-hero Nasser Al-Shamrani was nominated for the award.
The Wanderers were unavailable to comment on the matter. – Chris Matthews-Darby