The 20th edition of the AFC Women's Asian Cup will commence on 20th January 2022 and will run until 6th February 2022. The tournament that will see the best twelve Asian Women's national football teams taking part will be hosted by India.
Starting in 1975, AFC Women's Asian Cup has a long history and many iconic moments. The tournament has witnessed several brilliant individual performances. And we expect nothing less from this edition also.
Several teams will stake a claim of the coveted championship. And the competition is expected to be fierce as the best Asian talents will fight against each other.
On that note, we at The Bridge take a look at the five best players who will be part of the AFC Women's Asian Cup 2022.
#5 Yui Hasegawa
Yui Hasegawa is 5th on our list. The Japanese midfielder plays for West Ham in the FA Women's Super League. The 24 year old creative midfielder started her career at Nippon TV Tokyo Verdy Beleza and spent 11 years in her first club. Then she moved to Italian Serie A side AC Milan. Finally last year West Ham acquired the signing of the talented midfielder.
Hasegawa won the U-17 World Cup in 2014. She made her senior debut in 2017 and was a part of the Japanese team that won the AFC Women's Asian Cup in 2018. Yui has already appeared in 53 matches for the Japanese team and scored 11 times and is a vital cog in Japan's strong lineup. If Japan wants to retain their title in the upcoming AFC Women's Asian Cup, the creative midfielder will have to portray a key role.
#4 Wang Shuang
Wang Shuang is 4th on our list. The Chinese midfielder plays for Wuhan Jianghan University FC in the Chinese Women's Super League. The 26 year old midfielder has experience of playing in the top European level with Paris Saint Germain in the past. Wang has won two Chinese Super League titles with Dalian previously. The young playmaker has already pocketed Chinese Women's Footballer of the Year thrice ( 2016,2017,2018) and Asian Women's Footballer of the Year once (2018).
After making her national team debut in 2013, Wang has already earned 109 caps and has 34 goals before her name. Known for her excellent vision, passing and control in the midfield, the playmaker will be an important player for China. If the Steel Roses wants to get back to their glory days and reclaim the AFC Women's Asian Cup title, she will have to be at her level best.
#3 Ji So-yun
Ji So-yun is 3rd on our list. The South Korean midfielder plays Chelsea FC in FA Women's Super League. She has won several silverware at the club level. She won three league titles with INAC Kobe Leonesa with Japan before moving to England. In England, the Korean midfielder won five league titles, three FA Cups with Chelsea FC. Added to that she claimed a lot of individual awards including FA Women's Player of the Year (2014) also.
Known for her brilliant playmaking and scoring ability, the talismanic midfielder has already scored 59 goals in 131 appearances for South Korea. However, her trophy luck with the national team hasn't been the same. She is yet to win a major title with the South Korean team. However, the 30 year old midfielder will be hoping to turn around her fortunes when they take part in the upcoming AFC Women's Asian Cup 2022, India.
#2 Saki Kumagai
Saki Kumagai is 2nd on our list. The Japanese defender plays for Bayern Munich in Frauen-Bundesliga and is the captain of the Japanese National Team. 31 year old Saki has won many silverware for both club and country throughout her glorious career. She has won two Champions League titles with her previous club, Olympique Lyonnais. She was also a part of Japan's World Cup winning squad in 2011 and scored the winning penalty against the United States in the finals.
Saki won two back to back Asian Cups in 2014 and 2018. The 31 year old defender will have the responsibility to organize the Nadeshiko defence. Known for her leadership, Saki will be aiming to lead japan to their third consecutive Asian title when the Japanese team takes part in the upcoming AFC Women's Asian Cup 2022, India.
#1 Samantha Kerr
Samantha Kerr is 1st on our list. The Australian forward plays for Chelsea FC in FA Women's Super League. The Australian captain holds many records. She is the all-time leading Scorer of the National Women's Soccer League (NSWL) in the United States and until the previous season held the record in Australian top division W-League too. She is the only female footballer to win the prestigious Golden Boot on three different continents (The W-League of Australia, FAWSL of Europe and the NWSL North America).
Widely regarded as one of the finest players of the generation, Kerr was named in the three women shortlist for the prestigious FIFA Best 2021 award. Known for her speed, skill and tenacity the 28 year old Kerr has 49 goals for her country in 100 appearances. She will be undoubtedly the key player for the Matildas in the AFC Women's Asian Cup 2022.