Lok-ing to a future in Malaysia football

An energetic striker, English-born Darren Lok’s anticipated debut with a Malaysian Super League team is expected to attract a lot of interest, especially from Malaysia coach Ong Kim Swee.

Darren Lok, who came through the under-18s and reserves before making his current side, Eastbourne Borough, has gained the reputation as a terroriser of defences in the Conference South League (a six-tier football competition in England).

And now, the 24-year-old has confirmed he will part ways with his current club to play in the Malaysia Super League.

Lok, whose father hails from Malacca, will be granted citizenship in May. Although the player has claimed he has yet to find himself a club in Malaysia, many say he will likely join reigning AFC Cup champions Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) when the transfer window opens the following month.

The strapping forward is an ambitious lad who wants to make football a full-time job. In England, the non-league player juggles work commitments and football, making it tough for him (a support employee for psychiatric patients) to focus on the game.

I hope to settle in Malaysia and find a club as soon as possible.

- Darren Lok

“I hope to settle in Malaysia and find a club as soon as possible. I am looking forward for the opportunity to train full-time in the hopes of taking my game to the next level.

“In England, I play part-time so I have to work (in another job) also, which can be hard. Of course, if I do well in the Malaysia and prove myself, I would be very proud to play for the national team at a senior level,” said Lok when contacted in England.

Lok struck eight times on his debut with Eastbourne’s first team in the 2012-13 season and followed up nine and 10 goals in the following seasons.

In the current season, Lok missed several games following a hamstring injury, but the striker, who has made a name for himself scoring late winners from the bench, still managed four goals. His team are currently ninth with 39 points after 30 games.

“I made my first league appearance for Eastbourne in September 2012 against Basingstoke Town. It was a special day as I came off the bench and scored the winner six minutes before the end for a 1-0 win,” said Lok.

Darren Lok in action for Eastbourne.

Lok had dreams of joining a Premier League club but things did not work out.

“I’ve never had the chance to trial with any EPL and Championship club. But I had scouts from League One and Two watching me in games but nothing came of those.

“It is very difficult to make it in England because there is so much competition.  I currently play in the sixth-tier competition and the standard is getting stronger and stronger each season. A lot of players that played in League One and Two are now with sixth-tier clubs,” said Lok.

Lok has been doing research on Malaysian football to get himself prepared for his eventual destination.

“I know how big football is in Malaysia, and by watching highlights of the matches on the internet I can see that there are some very talented footballers,” said Lok.