Lok still surrounded by uncertainty

The English-born striker might not see any game time during his time with JDT II, as paperwork issues threaten to disrupt his career in Malaysia... 

Darren Lok’s football adventure with Malaysia Premier League (MPL) side Johor Darul Ta’zim II (JDT II) could be slightly delayed as the striker is yet to be granted a Malaysian passport.

The 25-year-old was interviewed by the Immigration Department on May 18 but he has not heard from them since. But Darren is unperturbed as he believes he will be granted a Malaysian citizenship before the mid-season transfer window closes on July 15.

“I have agreed terms with JDT II but I have yet to receive my passport. However, I am confident I will get it before the transfer window closes,” Lok told FourFourTwo yesterday.

“I have been training with JDT II since May. It is my first experience training full time as I was only a semi-professional with my previous club in England. I am enjoying every moment of it.

“My new teammates and coaches have been very welcoming and I feel I’m settling in well. I am eager and raring for action  in the MPL. I hope to achieve all my dreams with my new club.”

Lok, who is of Malaysian-English parentage, came to Kuala Lumpur on May 10 after ending his career with Eastbourne Borough, a semi-professional club in the Conference South League (a sixth-tier competition in England).

He scored eight times on his debut in the 2012/13 season for the English club and followed up with nine and 10 goals in the following seasons before ending his career with six goals in the just-concluded season.

On what were his options if he is not granted a Malaysian passport before the mid-season transfer window deadline, Lok said he has not thought about it yet.

“I have not even considered what will happen if I do not get my passport on time for the registration. I guess I will look at it when the day comes closer,” said Lok, who may not get to play competitive football until next season if he is not granted a passport soon.

Although, Lok comes with impressive credentials, he has chosen a MPL club instead of a Malaysia Super League (MSL) team to showcase his talent.

However, he does not see this as a shortcoming to pursue an international career, although, national coach Ong Kim Swee prefers players from the MSL for assignments.

“It is not easy moving to a different country to play football. There are a lot of  things to adapt to, so therefore, I think I will really benefit from starting in the second-tier. It will allow me that needed time to get use to the Malaysian style of football. We will see how it goes from there,” Darren added.