Fifa Puskas Award winner Mohd Faiz Subri is set to rake in RM150,000 in the form of incentives from the Youth and Sports Ministry and the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM).
Mohd Faiz, 29, who returned from Zurich, Switzerland today after winning the Puskas Award for his physics-defying freekick that drew global attention, will receive RM100,000 from the Ministry of Youth and Sports while the remainder will come from FAM.
Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the RM100,000 incentive was in appreciation of Mohd Faiz’s achievement at the 2016 FIFA Awards that was watched by a global audience.
“On behalf of the government I would like to congratulate Mohd Faiz for winning the award. It was a historic moment for Malaysian football and the first by a Malaysian,” he said after welcoming the Kedah-born Penang player at the KL International Airport in Sepang today.
Mohd Faiz arrived from Dubai with his wife Norzawanis Hashim, 29, and his two children Akif Fayyad, four, and Aqil Zayyan (eight months).
Meanwhile, FAM deputy president Afandi Hamzah, who had accompanied Mohd Faiz to Zurich, said FAM would contribute RM50,000 to the player.
“The FAM exco agreed to give Mohd Faiz RM50,000 for his tremendous win that put Malaysia on the world map,” said Afandi, who also presented a certificate from FAM.
Apart from the announcement of incentives, Mohd Faiz also made it into the Malaysia Book of Records for becoming the first Malaysian to win an award from Fifa.
He received a certificate of endorsement from Malaysia Book of Records chief executive officer Christopher Hw Wong.
Mohd Faiz’s arrival was eagerly awaited by about 250 fans who had gathered in KLIA since this morning and displayed banners and placards to show their appreciation.
Mohd Faiz in his short speech thanked the fans for their support.
“I wish to thank everyone for supporting me and voting for me. This win is for football in Malaysia,” he said before rushing to catch a connecting flight to Penang.
Mohd Faiz was awarded the Puskas Award by Fifa and presented by former Brazilian star striker Ronaldo at a glittering ceremony in Zurich, Switzerland, a first for Malaysian football and Asian football in general.
The Penang striker’s shot at the Puskas Award was courtesy of a spectacular free kick in a Super League match against Pahang on Feb 16 last year, with the ball swerving from an impossible angle into the right corner of the net, leaving a bewildered Pahang goalkeeper – and football fans – in its wake.
The video clip of Mohd Faiz’s phenomenal freekick which was first uploaded by FifaTV on YouTube had been viewed over 2.5 million times while the clips of his rivals Marlone and Rodriguez garnered over one million views.
Since the inception of the Fifa Puskas Award in 2009, only two other Asian players, Kumi Yokoyama and Hisato Sato, both from Japan, have been listed among the top 10 nominees but did not make the cut into the top three finalists in 2010 and 2014 respectively.
The award is named after Hungarian football legend Ferenc Puskas who enjoyed huge success with Real Madrid in the 1950s and 60s as well as the highly successful Hungarian side of the same era.
Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo was the first Puskas Award recipient in 2009, followed by Turkey’s Hamit Altintop (2010), Neymar from Brazil (2011), Slovakian Miroslav Stoch (2012), Sweden’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic (2013) and James Rodriguez from Colombia (2014).
In 2015, an unknown player from Brazil, Wendell Lira, from Club Goianesia took home the award. – Bernama