PETALING JAYA: Proud Malaysians have nothing but good and positive words for Penang footballer Faiz Subri for winning the Fifa Puskas Award.
Faiz was announced as the winner of “The Most Beautiful Goal 2016” at the star-studded Fifa awards ceremony in Zurich on Monday night, defeating two other finalists from Brazil and Venezuela.
Many congratulated him on social media for being the first Malaysian to win such an award.
Facebook user Cina Ah Pek said Malaysia needed this kind of fame and it was a proud moment for all.
“Whether he can play at premier European level does not matter. At least for once, we stop hearing about corruption, politician stupidity, etc. The first 2017 positive news for Msia!!!!,” he commented in a posting over Faiz’s win.
A twitter user said she woke up and immediately checked the result and felt so proud over Faiz’s achievement.
“Big big congratulations to #faizsubri for winning #PuskasAward,” she said, using the twitter handle @saraaisyavip.
Although many congratulated him, there were also others who made fun of Faiz for his halting speech delivered after receiving the award.
In showing his dissatisfaction over the criticism, Mu’azh, using the twitter handle @abaemuazh, said: “You can score the best goal ever and still some people choose to criticise your English. Melayu dan dengki berpisah tiada (Malay and hatred cannot be separated).”
However, there were others who described the speech as “charming” because Faiz was not trained to be a speaker as he was only a football player.
“For him to go up the stage and deliver a speech the way it is kind of charming. He is a football player not an orator. Give him some slack,” said a Facebook user.
After he was announced as the winner, Faiz went on stage to receive the prestigious award from the legendary Brazilian football player Ronaldo.
There was laughter in the audience when he took a few seconds going through his mobile phone, looking for the speech he had prepared.
In his halting English, Faiz said he felt blessed getting the award and it never crossed his mind that he would reach this level and was able to stand tall amongst world-class footballers.
He also thanked the Penang Football management team, his family and fellow Malaysians, especially those from Penang, and all those around the world for their support.
“I owe so much to you for submitting my goal for evaluation,” he said in his acceptance speech.
The copy of his speech was also posted on his twitter account @faizsubri13, where he said he was lucky he could find the speech on his mobile phone as he was so nervous at the time.
Malaysia Airlines (MAS) and national budget air carrier AirAsia also joined in the hype, congratulating him for the award.
AirAsia, in congratulating Faiz, also offered RM19 for the KL-Penang flight for Penang football supporters.
Faiz scored an outstanding, swerving free-kick for Penang against Pahang in the Malaysia Super League on Feb 16, 2016.
He was nominated for the Puskas Award and defeated Marlone (Brazil) and Daniuska Rodriguez (Venezuela) who were among the final top three.
The official result released by Fifa showed Faiz received 59.46% of votes while Marlone and Daniuska each received 22.86% and 10.01%.