Midfielder Huynh Quoc Anh and goalkeeper Dang Thi Kieu Trinh won the Golden Ball, Vietnamese football’s highest honour for players, at a ceremony held in Ho Chi Minh City on May 7.

The men’s award for 2012’s best player went to Da Nang’s attacking midfielder Anh, who has impressed spectators and pundits alike with his determined and skilful displays for his title wining team. The award signals the rehabilitation of Anh’s reputation following a three-year ban from football after a match-fixing scandal in 2005.

Hai Phong’s industrious midfielder Le Tan Tai took the Silver Ball in recognition of his excellent performance for the national team, while Da Nang ’s veteran player Nguyen Minh Phuong was awarded the Bronze Ball.

In the women’s category, the Golden Ball was the latest award to be collected by Trinh, who was named as the best female player of the ear by the Southeast Asia Football Federation last month.

Defender and national team captain Le Thi Thuong took the Silver Ball and the Bronze Ball went to striker Nguyen Thi Ngoc Anh.

In the other categories, SHB Da Nang’s Argentine striker Sebastian Gaston Merlo was named best foreign player of the year for the fourth time, making him the most successful foreign footballer in recent Vietnamese history.

Song Lam Nghe An defender Tran Phi Son was awarded best young male player of the year, while Chuong Thi Kieu became the best young female player of the year, in a new category.

The annual awards are organised by the Sai Gon Liberated newspaper, with the nominees shortlisted by sport journalists around the country.-VNA