KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 10 — Malaysia must not allow the Puskas Award won by Mohd Faiz Subri convince it that the state of football here is anything other than dire, said Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim.
In a Facebook post cautioning against elation over the Malaysian footballer's goal last year being judged the best in the world, the Johor crown prince said that the feat was not a yardstick of how developed the sport was locally, but rather the exact opposite.
While congratulating the Penang player, the Johor royal also categorised Faiz's award-winning goal as a fluke.
“This is a good individual achievement, but we must ask, where does the national football stand in terms of corruption, international standing, and team management in comparison to teams like Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines or Indonesia that are on a constant and rapid incline. So what have I got to be proud of?
“It's true that Faiz Subri's achievement is good, but when FAM stated that his achievement is a benchmark for Malaysian Football, I beg to differ. The reason being, he's only scored one goal, and apart from that, he's been oblivious throughout the season,” Tunku Ismail wrote.
Faiz should also not be placed on a pedestal solely for the goal, the prince wrote when reminding the nation of former greats such as Zainal Abidin Hassan, Dollah Salleh, Santokh Singh and others whom he said performed with excellence season after season.
Malaysian football is also languishing despite the millions of ringgit that are invested in the sport each year, he added when saying there was little reason to celebrate the sport in the country.
Tunku Ismail instead said his state's football team, Johor Darul Takzim, was a better approximation of state of football in the country, and lamented the lack of appreciation the team and its players have received despite their accomplishments.
“Malaysia is an ignorant country. People want to complain that the government is corrupt but people are so easily manipulated because of the lack of education and choose to remain in denial and refuse to accept the truth.
“We never acknowledge the real problem and address the issue to make this country better,” he concluded.
Penang's Faiz was yesterday awarded the Puskas Award for his free-kick against Pahang in the M-League last year.
Fifa's Puskas Award, named after Hungarian football legend Ferenc Puskas, celebrates the most “beautiful” goal scored in each year and is given out at the same time as the Ballon d'Or for the world's best player of the year.
Previous winners of the Puskas Award include Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar, and James Rodriguez.