KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia made history when “beyond the laws of physics” goal scored by Penang striker Mohd Faiz Subri was shortlisted as one of the top three for Fifa’s Puskas Award 2015/2016.
According to Fifa’s website, Fifa.com, the other two shortlisted candidates were Johnath Marlone from Brazil and Venezuelan Daniuska Rodriguez, from the first round of 10 shorlisted candidates.
Faiz scored the goal on Feb 16, 2016, during the Penang versus Pahang match in the Malaysia Super League.
The goal by Marlone was on April 21, 2016, when Corinthians met Cobresal in Brazil’s Copa Libertadores league while Rodriguez’s goal on March 14, 2016, was during the Venezuela vs Colombia match in the South American U-17 Women’s Football Championship.
Voting, which decides the best goal between Sept 30, 2015 and Sept 30, 2016 (inclusive), will close on Jan 9, with the winner announced and presented with the award later that day at a ceremony in Zurich.
Faiz’s wonder goal, a clip of which has been uploaded on YouTube by FIFATV, had led nine other candidates before being shortlisted among the top three.
As of 9.30pm today, the clip has attracted 1,384,112 viewers leaving even spectacular goals scored by Barcelona superstars Lionel Messi and Neymar in its wake.
The other candidates listed in the first round were Mario Gaspar (Villareal/Spain), Hlompho Kekana (Mamelodi Sundowns/South Africa), Saul Niguez (Atletico Madrid/Spain), Hal Robson-Kanu (West Bromwich Albion/Wales), Simon Skrabb (Gefle IF/Finland).
The three goals which receive the most voters will go through a second round of voting before the winner is announced in Zurich, Switzerland on Jan 9.
All votes from the first round will be added to the votes in the second round, to find the overall winner.
Local football fans can still vote for Faiz at www.fifa.com/the-best-fifa-football-awards/puskas-award/.
The 28-year-old player from Air Hitam, Kedah, thanked all who had voted for him.
When contacted by Bernama, Faiz said he did not expect to be chosen to be on the top three from the top 10 list, beating other famous players.
“I thank God for the opportunity and this award means the world to me. I would like to thank every single one out there who believed that I did my best.”
“My focus now is to be a better player and with this nomination, my spirit to become a better player has grown stronger,” he said.
Faiz also said that, as of now, he did not have anything special yet to wear as he did not expect to be in the top three as he was only informed about the matter about 8.30pm today.
“I will definitely wear something nice. This is the proudest moment of my life, for me and my entire family,” he said.
“This will make them proud of who I have become, from a kampung player to Fifa award nominee,” he said.
Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin urged Malaysians to continue voting for Faiz’s goal to enable him to win Fifa’s Puskas Award 2016.