English-born Darren Lok striker on Malaysia coach Ong's radar
Mixed heritage players can help Malaysian football climb to a higher level, according to interim national coach Ong Kim Swee.
Six players with Malaysian roots who grew up overseas are currently being processed for passports in the hope that they can qualify as local players and ultimately be considered for national selection. A seventh -- English-born striker Darren Lok -- is also interested in a move.
The 24-year-old plays for Eastbourne Borough in the Conference South, which is effectively the sixth tier of English football.
Lok, who has scored 22 league goals in 122 appearances for Eastbourne, is represented by Malaysia-based, former Australia winger Scott Ollerenshaw.
"Yes, Scott has told me about his efforts in helping Darren get a Malaysian citizenship, but I don't know about this player's capabilities in detail," Ong told Harian Metro.
"I'm completely open to having mixed-heritage players in the squad, but that doesn't mean that all of them will automatically earn a slot. I need to see them play first."
Other mixed heritage players have already appeared for Malaysia's senior and under-23 team, including English-Swede Junior Eldstal and Australian-born Matthew Davies and Brendan Gan. And big things are expected for Lok if he is able to qualify for Malaysian citizenship.
"Darren is potentially the diamond of the lot," Ollerenshaw, a former Malaysia Super League Golden Boot, told ESPN FC. "He's powerfully built and can score goals."
Perth-born Davies made an encouraging senior debut for Malaysia in the AFC World Cup qualifier against Saudi Arabia on Sept. 8. a game in which Junior also started.