Bending it like Faiz

Would Manuel Neuer, arguably the best goalkeeper on the planet, have saved Faiz Subri’s freekick goal that won him the Puskas Award? 

That was a question that Bayern Munich social media team asked their fans in a tweet. The tweet was accompanied by a selfie of Neuer and Faiz, taken by the former.  

Yes, the freekick was that good, as all of you surely know by now. And the Puskas Award awarded to Faiz was about appreciating the beauty of that goal. 

The Puskas Awards wasn’t awarded to Faiz for scoring 20 goals or providing 50 assists in a season. It certainly wasn’t for his English speaking skills and certainly not for what he wore. 

Unlike the Best player awards which these days can only be won by Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo, almost footballer from the planet can win the Puskas Award. 

The award is a bright spark in a year that has been nothing short of disastrous for Malaysian football. 

But the Crown Prince of Johor Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim was on the money when he said that Faiz should not be put on the pedestal for his goal. 

While the media went overdrive on Faiz, lets not put this on him. He is just a regular guy who earned world-wide fame for that moment of brilliance. 

If he praised himself endlessly as if he was God's gift to Malaysian football, then I would join in criticise him. But he is a humble chap and seems to be grounded. 

It’s not his fault that many others came out to fete him with this and that after winning the award. Isn’t that just the Malaysian way of doing things? 

To be fair, Faiz seemed as if he did not let both criticism and praise get to his head. He has said that he wants to keep on doing his best for his team Penang. 

In a way Faiz's goal is everything Malaysian football is not. The goal certainly does not reflect the standard of Malaysian football at all. 

We are back in the doldrums, just when we seemed to have been improving a few years back. 

Just look at the Malaysian football’s team performance in the 2016 AFF Suzuki Cup, where we couldn’t even get out of the group stages. 

I was already looking forward to attending at least a semifinal match at the very least back here. 

Lets not talk about Thailand, even the likes of Myanmar and Philippines seem to be ahead of us now. 

As a fan, I would have taken being champions of the region over Faiz's award. 

The failure of our national team is a collective failure of everyone involved in Malaysian football. 

Lets however not just put the blame on the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) alone for this. 

At this point of time, no one in Malaysian football deserves to be put on a pedestal. 

Too many people are in football for their own political gain and own agenda, although the people might not be able to see it. 

When the likes of Selangor and Kelantan can’t seem to sort out their funding, you know there is a very big problem. 

These are the powerhouses of Malaysian football. Selangor have won the Malaysia Cup 33 times, the most successful side in the country. 

This year, Malaysia will be looking to qualify for the 2019 Asian Cup and to win the SEA Games gold medal. 

At this point of time I only have pessimism about what the team can achieve. 

So anyway, back to that Faiz Subri freekick. I think Neuer would have saved it five times out of ten. 

The other five times, the ball would have gone in. 

So I hope Malaysians will savor this award for now, cause I don't see any recognition for our football for a long time to come.

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