Lok bid falls short as Zaquan gets 11th-hour Malaysia call-up
Zaquan will reunite with his twin brother Aidil Zafuan on the international stage for the first time since 2012, given a last-minute call-up for Malaysia's friendly against Myanmar and the Asian Cup qualifying playoff against Timor Leste.
The 28-year-old has been unfortunate with injuries in recent years but returned to full fitness with JDT II in the Malaysia Premier League (MPL) this season.
Zaquan has scored six goals – including a hattrick against Kuantan last week – as his side climbed up to third with eight wins in nine matches.
Zaquan has shown great commitment in being ever-willing to cut short his holiday to join us
He replaces Selangor winger R. Gopinathan in the squad after the latter reported to training with a knock earlier this week.
Malaysia coach Ong Kim Swee had initially kept a slot open in the team in the hope English-born Darren Lok would get his Malaysian passport in time, but that hasn’t eventuated.
"Zaquan is someone who will not need any introduction to international football. He has been in the national team and will know its demands," said Ong
"He has shown great commitment in being ever-willing to cut short his holiday to join us. It is a good example to everyone in terms of putting the country first.
"Darren has not got his citizenship and when he does eventually get it, I'll take a look at him. He could be part of the Oceania tour later in June, but nothing is certain."
The Tigers leave for Yangon on Friday to play Myanmar the following day, before going to Johor Bahru for the two-legged playoff on June 2 and 6.
Desperate for a place in the Asian Cup qualification, Ong's charges will use JDT's state-of-the-art facilities in the hope a change of surrounding and new-look squad could inspire the ailing team.
Malaysian skipper Safiq Rahim (thigh) will not travel to Myanmar, but is expected to return for the Timor Leste matches. Safiq has not played for JDT since the FA Cup final on May 14.