Malaysia in race against time to register English-born Lok
Malaysia are pushing for Darren Lok to get a Malaysian passport as soon as possible in hopes that he could be a last-minute inclusion to the Asian Cup qualifying playoff squad against Timor Leste on June 2 and 6.
Lok, who is of Malaysian-English parentage, is expected to sign for Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) in next month's mid-season transfer window after undergoing trials at the club since the start of the May.
FourFourTwo understands an approval for citizenship has already been agreed in principle but with nothing in black and white, Lok cannot be registered as part of Malaysia's squad just yet.
With player registration for the first leg due by Thursday, Malaysian coach Ong Kim Swee is eager for Lok to secure his passport.
A slot in the squad has opened up after Selangor winger R. Gopinathan pulled out with an injury and Ong has delayed calling up a replacement.
The Malaysia coach has however, called up Mahali Jasuli to replace the injured Matthew Davies.
"Our concern is whether he can get his passport by Thursday ... but anyway I still need to take a look at him. That won't be long, one or two days is usually enough," said Ong.
"I know he has been in training with JDT and I've got good feedback from there. He probably won't be available for Timor Leste but let's get his passport first. The Oceania tour looks more likely for him."
Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) general-secretary Datuk Hamidin Amin said Lok would be registered "as soon as he gets his Malaysian passport".
"I was informed by Ong of the potential availability of Lok and I contacted Johor FA to check what stage of applying a citizenship he was in. I was informed that all documentations have already been submitted and they are just waiting for an approval," said Hamidin.
Lok last played in Eastbourne Borough, a semi-professional club in England's sixth-tier Conference South League. He was part of their 2015-16 squad.
If Lok does not get his citizenship by Thursday, he could still be registered by Monday for the return leg on June 6.
Lok will then join Malaysia's other mixed-heritage players Junior Eldstal, Brendan Gan and Khair Jefry Jones in the squad.