Malaysia striker Darren Lok has acknowledged that he faces a monumental task at the AFF Suzuki Cup, which starts on Saturday.
Lok has endured a “crazy six months” that has seen him go from signing for Johor Darul Ta’zim II in June to sitting on the sidelines for five months to playing club football for 45 minutes, which fast-tracked his entry into the Malaysian team.
The 26-year-old’s inclusion in the national team has raised a few eyebrows, but he is determined to prove his doubters wrong at the AFF Suzuki Cup, where Malaysia are in Group B with co-hosts Myanmar, Vietnam and Cambodia.
“I have never been in this position before,” Lok told ESPN FC. “I came from playing part-time football in England to now playing for Malaysia. So this is all new to me. But we do feel like a team and are ready.
“The aim for me now is to hopefully get more starts, and keep playing good football. It was nice to leave for Yangon with a win, and I can tell you we are fully focused on the job ahead.”
Fellow striker Ahmad Hazwan Bakri has also backed Lok to have a successful AFF Suzuki Cup campaign and believes that together, they can inflict a lot of damage on opposing nations.
Lok and Hazwan showcased their ability to work in tandem in their 2-1 friendly win over Papua New Guinea on Monday, where the former set up the latter to score.
“I know of Darren’s abilities. He has good physique, and can hold the ball well,” Hazwan said. “I can support him, and get the goals if given the opportunity.”
Hazwan is also looking to capitalise on his own good form as of late, which has seen him score for Selangor in the first-leg semi-final and final of the Malaysia Cup. In addition to that, there is also the aforementioned goal against Papua New Guinea.
“I have been playing well, and that really helps before a big tournament like this,” the 25-year-old said. “We are good as a unit, but can improve for sure. My target is to take Malaysia as far as possible, but we will approach it one game at a time.”