PRESSURE: Teen red-carded for trying to punch Qatari player during friendly match
SHAH ALAM: Nazmi Faiz Mansor is discovering at an early age that the pressures of fame can quickly spiral out of control.
Yesterday, he awoke to morning tabloid headlines and by evening, he was getting himself sent off in Malaysia's Under-22 international friendly against Qatar here.
He recently hit the headlines for the right reasons when his football skills attracted the attention of Portuguese Primeira Liga club Beira Mar, which had agreed to sign him for three years in August following a successful trial.
Inevitably, as several senior national players can attest to, Nazmi now needs to deal with fame positively or go the way of so many child prodigies who failed to reach their full potential.
Nazmi's love life was splashed across the front page of a leading daily yesterday and the usually mild-mannered 17-year-old from Lembah Keramat lost the plot when he attempted to punch Qatar's Abdelkarim Hassan Fadlalla in the friendly match at the Shah Alam Stadium.
The 41st-minute incident was sparked by Fadlalla's knee-high sliding tackle on Malaysia's Azrif Nasrulhaq Badrul Hisham, which Nazmi took exception to. He ran half the length of the pitch to confront Fadlalla in front of the visitors' bench.
Luckily for Nazmi, who at 1.67m and almost 30cm shorter than Fadlalla, his punch turned into nothing more than a push on the Qatari's chest.
Malaysian referee Nagor Amor Noor Mohamed flashed the red card to Nazmi. Fadlalla was also sent off for the dangerous tackle.
The incident took the gloss off Malaysia's 2-0 win over Qatar although a contrite Nazmi apologised for his actions after the match.
"I only pushed him on the chest, and the next thing I knew the referee had given me the red card," said a downcast Nazmi as he faced a scrum of sport reporters at the Shah Alam Stadium.
"I was not able to control my emotions. I'm sorry for my actions and I will not repeat it."