PETALING JAYA: As expected Mohd Faiz Subri’s spectacular freekick goal for Penang against Pahang FC in a Malaysian Super League match on Feb 16 this year has been nominated for the prestigious 2016 FIFA Puskas award.
Faiz’s goal was one of 10 shortlisted from thousands of goals scored between Sept 30, 2015 and Sept 30, 2016. The goals are selected from all levels of the game, as long as it was scored in an officially sanctioned tournament, with video footage to support the claim.
His fellow nominees include Argentina’s Lionel Messi for a goal against the United States, and Brazil’s Neymar for his goal in Barcelona’s match against Villareal.
Faiz took the football world by storm after his freekick, which was said to have been struck in a “knuckleball” manner, fooled Pahang goalie Mohd Nasril Nourdin before ending in the top-right corner.
In football, a knuckleball happens when a player kicks the ball which initially goes in one direction, before swerving the other way and bamboozles a goalkeeper.
Among the players known to score such amazing goals are Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale.
The video clip of Faiz’s goal went viral and has currently been viewed more than 2.8 million times. This is expected to increase after Faiz’s nomination.
The goal also received media coverage around the world, with the highly-respected Independent of UK predicting that Faiz was an early contender for the FIFA Puskas award.
Even the Penang government rode on the wave of popularity from Faiz’s goal by awarding the player a cash reward of RM10,000.
Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng was quoted as saying at the time that the reward was for bringing worldwide recognition and glory to Penang and Malaysia.
The Puskas award is named after legendary Hungarian player, Ferenc Puskas, who won three European Cups with Real Madrid between 1959 and 1966.
The full list of nominees for the award this year are Mario Gaspar (Spain v England), Hlompho Kekana (South Africa v Cameroon), Hal Robson-Kanu (Wales v Belgium), Lionel Messi (Argentina v USA), Daniuska Rodriguez (Venezuela v Colombia), Neymar (Brazil – Barcelona v Villareal), Marlone (Brazil – Corinthians v Cobresal), Saul Niguez (Spain – Atletico Madrid v Bayern Munich), Simon Skrabb (Finland – Gefle v Atvidaberg), and Mohd Faiz Subri (Malaysia)
The FIFA website states that online voting will close on Dec 2, after which the top three goals will go for a second round of voting and the winner will be announced at FIFA’s annual awards ceremony to be held in Zurich, Switzerland on Jan 9.