Lok looking ahead to his Malaysian adventure

Darren Lok in action for Eastbourne Borough
Darren Lok in action for Eastbourne Borough

Last week it was confirmed that fans’ favourite Darren Lok’s Eastbourne Borough career was coming to an end.

The 24-year-old striker has been at the club since he was 16, progressing through the youth and reserve teams.

He made his first team debut four seasons ago against Basingstoke, a game which he came off

of the bench to score the winner, something which he is renowned for at Priory Lane.

Darren is one of a few players remaining at the club who have come through the youth system

and now finds himself amongst the clubs longest-serving current squad.

Now it seems as if ‘Lokky’, as he is known at Borough, could be destined for international football something that wouldn’t have been possible had he not broken into the first-team.

The Eastbourne-born forward is half Malaysian and qualifies through his father. Malaysia are looking to grow in stature on the international scene and see players with a dual nationality as a way to do that.

The Borough forward said: “I played my youth football here. When I was in the reserves they only played every two weeks so I took the chance to play weekly at Ringmer.

“After spending two years there I came back to Eastbourne in pre season and Tommy had not long become manager, he gave me the chance to do pre season with the first team.

“I was loaned out that season but called back to Borough as they were short of forwards at the time.

“I was brought on as a sub that same week and scored the winner and I stayed in the first-team

ever since.”

The possibility of a move to Malaysia came as something as a surprise as interest in Lok started to build when he gave an interview to a football magazine.

“I was contacted on Twitter by FourFourTwo Malaysia, they were looking for mixed British and Malaysian men playing football in England.

“They asked if I would consider playing for the national team if the opportunity was to arise.

“After the interview was published online, I was contacted by an agent who asked me if I would consider playing my club football in Malaysia, something I had never thought about.

“After giving it plenty of thought I decided that it was to big an opportunity to turn down and one that I would regret if I did not take. 

“Every non-league player knows how hard it is to juggle work with football and to have the chance to focus on my football was really appealing to me.

“I wasn’t aware of the standard of football in Malaysia and just how popular it is but I began to keep a closer eye on the league there.

“I went to Malaysia for a week in January where I made an application for my Malaysian passport. I also visited a first division team and looked around at their stadium and training facilities.

“There is a cap of foreign players in the Malaysian league so I will be going to Malaysia as a citizen so I won’t be taking up the foreign player quota, that’s why I had to apply for a passport.”Darren hasn’t actually put pen-to-paper with any club in Malaysia and this wont be finalised until the Malaysian League transfer window opens on June, 28.

“From what I saw when I went in January the standard of the facilities is very good. They would definitely compare to a Premier League or Championship team in England and the average attendance is about 10,000.

“If I was to prove myself and the opportunity to represent the national team came up, I would love to represent Malaysia.”

An international call-up could not be far away, as the Malaysian national coach has been

reported to say that he has seen videos of Darren and that he looks “very impressive”.

However, Darren is not taking anything for granted and is keen to end this season as well as possible.

“If it all works out well I could be there for as long as I can continue to play football.

“At the moment I am focusing on finishing this season strongly and getting some goals, we are

still in with a chance of the play-offs.

“I have had four very happy years at Eastbourne Borough and it’s a great club with some great

supporters, I wish them every success in the future and I hope they can return to the

National League and one day establish themselves as a Football League side.”