GEORGE TOWN: Puskas Award winner Faiz Subri has guaranteed that he would put the Penang team’s needs before personal glory.
The 29-year-old had claimed that he will make his detractors eat their words by reproducing the stunning free-kick which bagged him the best goal award during the FIFA Awards ceremony in Zurich, Switzerland, on Monday night.
But Faiz clarified after touching down at the Penang International Airport last night that he would not be seeking personal glory at the expense of the Panthers.
“I will attempt to score more beautiful goals, but not at the expense of Penang. The team always comes first for me,” said Faiz, who will be playing in his third season for the islanders this year.
“I will focus 100% on Penang after this. I will not let up in my efforts just because I’ve won the Puskas Award.”
Faiz was welcomed at the airport by a crowd of around 200, including his parents Subri Kadir and Saadiah Ishak and other family members. His friends from Kampung Tok Kepak in Ayer Hitam, Kedah, also made the two-hour journey to the airport and made their presence felt by wearing identical light blue T-shirts emblazoned with the words “Congratulations Faiz Subri, the Puskas Award winner”.
Also at the airport to welcome him were the Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, Deputy Chief Minister I Datuk Rashid Hasnon and Football Association of Penang council members, led by president Datuk Seri Nazir Ariff.
Guan Eng announced a reward of RM50,000 to Faiz from the Penang government.
“We (Penang government) had already rewarded him RM10,000 when he scored the magical goal last year. We will top it up with another RM50,000,” said the chief minister.
“I hope he scores more magical goals for Penang in the coming season. All Malaysians will now have the rare chance to watch a Puskas Award winner in action when Faiz plays in the Malaysian league.”
As soon as Faiz came through the doors, the crowd, which also included a large number of Penang supporters, broke into a rendition of “Negaraku” while hoisting Faiz on their shoulders.