WHEN Mohd Faiz Subri scored what has become a world famous goal against Pahang in a Super League match last season, little did he know that it would bring him the honour of being nominated for Fifa’s prestigious Puskas Award.
Timesport’s K. KANDIAH caught up with the player before he leaves for Zurich tomorrow with his wife and two children for Monday’s award presentation.
Question: How do you feel being among the top three nominees for the Puskas Award?
Answer: I am feeling on top of the world. It’s simply amazing to think that I am the first Malaysian to be nominated for the award and the only Asian among the 10 finalists this year.
Q: Did you expect your goal to make the top three?
A: I am still coming to terms with the awesome goal. However, I feel the goal deserved to be nominated but making it to the top three is God’s blessings. I feel that I have a fighting chance with the other two nominees (Brazil’s Marlone and Venezuela’s Daniuska Rodriguez) but then again, if I don’t win I will not be disappointed.
Q: Monday’s Fifa awards event in Zurich will give you a chance to meet world class players like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. How do you feel being given the opportunity to be on the same stage with them?
A: I feel very nervous but at the same time, very excited as this is a once in a life time opportunity. I will carry the country’s name with pride and honour when on stage, especially when I stand there among great players like Ronaldo and Messi. It is going to be a special feeling standing there with them. It is hard to explain, maybe after the event I will be able to relate the experience.
Q: If you get a chance to speak to Messi or Ronaldo, what would you ask them?
A: I will surely get their autograph and snap a few photos with them as that will be for my remembrance.
Q: Do you have a victory speech ready?
A: Yes, I have a prepared victory speech which I will deliver in Bahasa Malaysia, but I prefer to keep the content undisclosed.
Q: What is your feeling about going to Zurich?
A: I have been feeling fantastic since I was shortlisted and I expect a fantastic experience. It is a source of great pride and honour for me and my family, and a greater honour for all Malaysians.
Q: Have you been able to sleep the past few days?
A: I am very excited, especially when I think about mingling with football’s top names. The nomination, however, has not changed me any bit. I still sleep well as normal as my focus is on training and helping my team achieve success in the M-League this season.
Q: How has life changed since you scored the goal and do people recognise you when you walk on the streets?
A: Life has not changed for me but people do tend to recognise me more when I walk on the streets, or am in shopping malls — especially younger people. The younger ones ask me for selfies while the older ones congratulate and encourage me to carry on and to do better.
Q: You have been given permission by Fifa to wear a Baju Melayu for the ceremony. How do you feel about it?
A: I am very happy and excited about it. I would like to thank the FA of Malaysia for getting me the permission from Fifa. But wearing the Malay suit will depend on the weather there. As much as I want to use it, I may have to decide otherwise if the weather is too cold.
Q: Your wonder goal chalked up over two million views on Fifa TV when it was first nominated among the 10 best goals last year. Did you expect it?
A: Though I knew that the goal I scored was special, I really did not expect it to go this far. When I received the confirmation of being among the top 10 best goals in the world, I was speechless and could not digest the fact. But slowly I got used to it. Imagine the possibility of my name among the super stars of football, like Messi and Neymar.
Q: Have you tried scoring a similar goal again?
A: Yes, I did try but sadly, it hasn’t happened again.
Q: Was that wonder goal a fluke or was it something you work on in training?
A: I do work a lot on free-kicks, from different angles and various styles. Whether the goal was a fluke or not is something that I am not in a position to say.
Q: What are your aspirations for the new season with Penang?
A: I will keep on giving my best as I want Penang to do really well this season. On a personal note, I really hope that I can score a wonder goal again.