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Congrats Faiz Subri, but here's the real issue

Here I go joining the bandwagon of all the commentators who have been wagging their tongues after Penang football player Mohd Faiz Subri won the most votes and was awarded Fifa’s Puskas Most Beautiful Goal of 2016. He is the first Asian to win the award.

First of all, we must congratulate the young man for winning. It is an achievement even though it is just a single goal. Just looking at the way he approached and took the free kick, it is obvious that it was intentional and he knew what he was doing.

It was not a fluke and any footballer will tell you that he did it correctly and that the move is a result of a commitment to training and practice. Sure, he may be an unknown. But he deserves the win and he deserves all the accolades that go with it.

Now to respond to the issue of how Faiz delivered his acceptance speech and his command of the English language. In all honesty, it does not matter. He is a footballer and he does his talking on the pitch, as he did when he scored that beautiful goal.

He should not be expected to speak proper English. In fact, he should not be expected to even understand the language at all. Even Brazilian football legend Ronaldo, the person who presented the award to him, spoke in Portuguese and an interpreter translated it.

Faiz wrote out his speech and he read from it. His pronunciation and enunciation was weak. But again, it does not matter. He already spoke loud and clear in a language that everybody understands - football.

He fumbled with his smartphone while looking for his speech. So what? It’s not a big deal. If he had written it on a piece of paper, there would also have been a risk of him fumbling in his pockets looking for that piece of paper.

It’s just a different form of fumbling. It isn’t less dignified just because it was a smartphone instead of a folded piece of paper. Technology develops and progresses. Let’s stop being stuck in the past.

I criticised how our Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi presented his speech last year in September at the 71st Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York. That one was particularly horrendous.

I admit to having a double standard. Zahid is a politician and a national leader. He was supposed to deliver a message through his speech. His talking was supposed to do the talking. This is different than Faiz - his amazing goal was the message.

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