Johor crown prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim has warned of politicians trying to take advantage of Faiz Subri's Fifa Puskas Award as they rained praise on him.
He stressed that the win should not cause Malaysia to lose sight of improving the country's poor state of football and not whitewash it based on one achievement.
"You may be able to score one goal, win a Puskas Award with the whole country rejoicing, or you can be a puppet for a politician and that may get you a datukship.
"On the other hand, you may also be legends like Amri Yahyah, Safiq Rahim and many more who score consistently every season be it for their club or the national team," he said in a post on the Johor Southern Tigers Facebook page.
Faiz Subri was earlier today awarded the Puskas Award which honoured the world's best goal of the year.
Shortly after the award, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak took to Twitter to congratulate him.
"The success in the Fifa Puskas Award 2016 will inspire other football players in Malaysia and also make the country proud," he said.
Faiz, who plays for Penang FA, also earned praise from Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng who promised a "token award" for his achievement.
“It is not luck but sheer hard work and discipline that got Faiz where he is today, this is very important.
“Faiz (photo) worked very hard for his success, he was very dedicated, disciplined, he looked after his diet, we must all learn from him," Lim told a press conference in Penang today.
Meanwhile, Umno information chief Annuar Musa claimed at a press conference today that Faiz was his mentee and described his win as a "Panadol" for the country's football.
'Should be placed on a pedestal'
Tunku Ismail said he was one of the first to congratulate Faiz for his achievement but did not think that he should be placed on a pedestal and become comfortable with our current standing.
"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 (Football Association of Malaysia) 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," he said.
The benchmark, he said, was Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) whose players had produced consistent achievements.
"We should be working together to eradicate favouritism, every form of corruption in football, and raise the level of management in the national team.
"All of you are overly proud of an individual, but choose not to address more important elements such as our integrity and the current reputation of our national football which I'm sure everyone is aware of," he said.
Tunku Ismail also lamented about the state of the country, calling it an "ignorant" one.
"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 said.- Mkini