KOTA BARU: National goalkeeper Khairul Fahmi Che Mat, who returned home Monday to Kampung Cherang here to a hero's welcome, has been promised a new house by the state government.
Mentri Besar Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat said the state had decided to present Khairul Fahmi with a new house as a mark of appreciation for his contribution to national football.
Khairul Fahmi shot to fame after saving a penalty shot by an Indonesian player im the second-leg final of the Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup on Dec 29.
Malaysia took home the cup after beating Indonesia by a 4-2 aggregate.
Nik Aziz, who was among hundreds of people here to welcome Khairul Fahmi home, however, did not give details on the house or its cost.
Khairul Fahmi, 21, later said he was touched by the treatment accorded to him by the people and state government.
"I did not expect this kind of welcoming ceremony.
"I was really surprised because I did not know that they were planning this," he said, adding that he was accompanied by cars and motorcycles all the way from Machang to his village.
Khairul Fahmi had returned to Kelantan by road from Kuala Lumpur.
He said the ceremony was organised by the people in his village, particularly two of his good friends.
Asked about his sudden fame, Khairul said he felt a mix of tremendous pressure and expectation but would take it all in his stride.
"I will work harder this year despite the pressure and since I am still young, there is a lot to learn so that I can become a top-notch goalkeeper.
"My goal is to help Kelantan, if I am chosen into the state team, defend the Malaysia Cup, and win the League and FA Cup," he said.