January 10 – FIFA’s ‘Best’ awards might have had a very uncomfortable European-only feel about them in their male nominees category – incredibly not one nominee came from club football played outside the continent – but the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) did see sees one notable success.
Mohd Faiz Subri became the first Asian player to win the FIFA Puskás Award for his free-kick during a Malaysia Super League game which was voted the best goal of 2016.
The FIFA Puskás Award is awarded to the player, male or female, judged to have scored the most aesthetically significant, or “most beautiful”, goal of the year.
Subri was up against Brazil’s Marlone from Corinthians and Venezuela’s Daniuska Rodriguez. The Penang star registered 59.46% of the votes.
Subri scored twice against Pahang at the Bandaraya Pulau Pinang Stadium on February 16 last year to inspire his side’s victory, but it was the swerving free kick that made him a household name overnight. Previous Asian players to have been nominated for the FIFA Puskás Award include Japan’s Kumi Yokoyama and Hisato Sato, as well as the Australian duo of Lisa de Vanna and Tim Cahill.
President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa congratulated Subri saying: “It was truly a breathtaking strike that captured the imagination of football fans around the globe and the whole of Asia celebrates this victory with Faiz.
“He has once again proven that Asia can stand proud among the best in the world and I am confident that this award will inspire more Asian players towards greater achievements on the world’s biggest stages.”
And perhaps FIFA’s awards next year will recognise that football is being played outside of Europe’s big leagues as well. Perhaps.
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