KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) Australias Sasa Ognenovski is tipped to be crowned player of the year by the Asian Football Confederation Wednesday, but even he admits a controversial eligibility rule has tarnished the award. The AFC decrees that only players who attend its gala awards ceremony in Kuala Lumpur are eligible for the title, a policy it has defended as necessary for putting on a good show and enhancing the sports profile in the region. The attendance rule has this year eliminated from contention three top Asian stars Japans Keisuke Honda who plays for CSKA Moscow, Park Ji-Sung of South Korea who plays for Manchester United, and Australias Tim Cahill with Everton. The trio were on the original list of 15 nominated players unveiled by the AFC earlier this month, but are all busy playing for their clubs and had to send their apologies. It does tarnish the award a little bit by not having them here, 31-year-old Ognenovski told AFP Wednesday, adding that only a mishap had left him in the running. If I was not injured, I would not be here for the AFC Player of the Year award. I sustained a calf injury, and if not for the injury I would be playing for my team against Jeonbuk, he said. After an outstanding season, Ognenovski has a big chance of collecting the title in the absence of Honda, Park and Cahill. The aggressive centre back led Seongnam Ilhwa to win the AFC Champions League this month in Japan. Ognenovski said that while he was humbled and honoured to be nominated the AFC should consider scheduling the gala ceremony for the end of the year when many clubs have ended their season. The date could be in middle of December when most of the leagues are finishing. Middle to late December, just before Christmas will be an ideal date for everybody to be able to attend, he said. I think they are probably looking at changing the date to make it more viable for the other players to come, he said. The event (then) of course will attract more media attention and its better for the AFC. I think if they made it at a later date, it might help everybody to attend, but I guess they are the rules for now. It would be nice to have all the top players here. Seongnam is South Koreas most successful club, with seven K-League titles, and have made regular appearances in Asian club competitions, winning the Asian Club Championship in 1995. They also reached the AFC Champions League final in 2004 and the semi-finals in 2007. At Wednesdays awards night, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak is to receive the AFC Diamond of Asia award for his contribution towards promoting football in Asia.