Definitely a keeper

Selangor goalkeeper Farizal Harun portrays a wild public persona.

But don’t be hasty in passing judgement on the 34-year-old who was slapped with a five-match ban and fined RM5,000 by the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) for striking PKNP player Alfateh Afandi during a Super League match last year. His gung-ho attitude even led Selangor fans to perceive him as a gangster.

In reality, Farizal is an angel, using his massive hands to good use – stopping goals and lending a big hand to the needy in this period of crisis brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I know that people think that I’m a gangster based on my performance on the pitch. It’s just my character when I’m playing. My job is to help my team win matches and I take it seriously… at times emotion does boil over but once the match ends there are no hard feelings from me, ” said former international Farizal.

“I’m free now since the M-League is suspended and it’s time for off-pitch matters to be given more importance. I have been working through the Paroi Jaya Youth Association (PJYA) to help the needy in Paroi Jaya to distribute essential items such as eggs, sugar, oil and rice since the imposition of the movement control order (MCO) to curb the pandemic.

“To date, we have covered 120 households and we hope we can help people get through this tough period… we also need to thank those who had come forward to donate the foodstuff.”

Farizal said PJYA operate through their Facebook page and have five volunteers helping in organising the drop-offs and the logistics.

He added that his job is to deliver the food and consent has been obtained from the local police station. He also adheres to the precaution of wearing masks, gloves and using sanitisers.

“I have been stopped and asked to go back by the police because I didn’t have the authorisation letter. It was a learning curve for me.

“Now we have the necessary documents and everything is in order. We have to understand that the police are just doing their job and we need to respect them, ” he said.

“We take pictures of what we supply to the needy for the sake of our donors. We cover the recipients’ faces though. I don’t think there’s a need to see who gets the donation… we don’t see race or religion in the framework. We just help those in need.”

“Those who need help usually get to us via social media and some of the less fortunate ones are those we know personally from the neighbourhood.

“I’m glad to have helped those in need. I hope others who are better off help out as well.”

WhatsApp chat