Darren tells fans they have what it takes to take on big teams

Hard at work: Harimau Malaya players warming up during training ahead of their international friendlies against Syria and China. — FAM

PETALING JAYA: Don’t you worry, Malaysian fans.

National football striker Darren Lok wants Harimau Malaya supporters to have full belief in the squad as they face China and Syria in their Tier 1 international friendlies.

Fans were sceptical if Malaysia can take on the likes of Syria and China, who are ranked 90th and 81st respectively in the FIFA standings. Malaysia are currently ranked 138th.

“Fans are entitled to their opinions. We’ve shown in the qualifiers we can compete against the big teams. We did well against Bahrain in the Asian Cup 2023 qualifiers last year,” said Darren.

“Malaysia are getting to that level again. We can compete against these countries and we are all excited to give our best.

“The camp is going well so far. Most of the players have been here before and we know what the coach expects from us. We had a good six days and look forward to the games against Syria and China.

The team flew to Chengdu, China, yesterday to face Syria (tomorrow) and China (Sept 9).

The two friendlies away from home are important matches ahead of the 2026 World Cup Qualifiers starting this November and the 2023 Asian Cup in Qatar in January next year.

“We are expecting tough games. We haven’t had opponents ranked so high in a long time. It will be physical and full of quality. We need games like these to prepare for the Asian Cup. It’s good for us and we will take something from it.”

Darren said he aims to score as many goals as possible during the matches.

Darren believes he can achieve his aim based on coach Kim Pan-gon’s aggressive approach and with the help of his teammates.

“That’s the job of a striker. But I think that playing under coach Kim, there’s a chance. I want to score as many goals as possible for Malaysia but, at the same time, help them (teammates) in other areas,” he said.

Darren has always been preferred as the lone man upfront for the national team but this time he will have competition in the form of Paulo Josue and Sergio Aguero.

Their playing styles might differ but Darren knows what he needs to do to get a spot.

“I always want to score goals. But we are also a team that are aggressive and press high, I hope I can bring that to the national team,” he said.

“We have Paulo here now. He had a great call-up last time. He is a different type of player to me. Sergio is here too. So the challenge is good.

“You want to stamp your mark and be part of the Asian Cup. There is no better feeling than coming to represent Malaysia.

“It can’t be beaten. The build-up to the Asian Cup is exciting, we are all thinking about that. We have to prepare right.”

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Football , Malaysia , Harimau Malaya , Darren Lok


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