Football: Global acclaim no distraction for Penang’s creative marksman

Faiz Subri's (right) remarkable free kick has attracted international acclaim but he says Tuesday's MSL goal was the result of hard work during training.
Faiz Subri's (right) remarkable free kick has attracted international acclaim but he says Tuesday's MSL goal was the result of hard work during training.PHOTO: EPA

It may only be February, but Penang's Faiz Subri has wasted no time in throwing down the gauntlet as a possible contender for the Fifa Puskas award, the accolade given by world football's governing body to the player who is deemed to have scored the year's best goal.

The 28-year-old attacker scored a cracking free kick for his team in their 4-1 win over Pahang in the Malaysia Super League (MSL) on Tuesday, a goal which has since been hailed around the world, from Australia to America.

Standing over the ball some 32m out, Faiz took a swipe with his right boot and hit the ball with such venom that it swerved left, seemingly going out, before curving right and dipping into goal, leaving Pahang goalkeeper Nasril Nourdin - and everyone watching - stunned.

At a press conference yesterday, the player said he was surprised at the reaction to video clips of the goal, but added that he had practised the routine in training.

He told Malaysian newspaper The New Straits Times: "I meant to take it like that as I have been practising it in training. This (was) the first time I had tried it this way in a match because most of my free kicks are aimed directly at goal."

The goal even got Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak raving. Mr Najib posted the video on his Facebook page, saying it was "memang cantik" (truly beautiful).

If nominated, Faiz would be the first Southeast Asian to make the shortlist for the Puskas award.

But the player is refusing to be carried away. He told NST: "When I woke up this morning, I was shocked by the number of messages on my phone.

"But I won't let this attention get to me. The season has only just started and we have a long way to go yet."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lIDAXrjjXe8
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 18, 2016, with the headline 'Global acclaim no distraction for Penang's creative marksman'. Print Edition | Subscribe