NAM DINH, May 12 — Sensational young striker Luqman Hakim Shamsudin has finally ended a two-year scoring drought on the international stage after scoring two goals to help Malaysia beat Laos 3-1 in the 31st SEA Games here, yesterday.
The two goals contributed by the Belgian club KV Kortrijk striker enabled the national Under-23 (U-23) squad to win their second match in Group B of the men’s football competition of the biennial Games, thus brightening Malaysia’s chances of qualifying for the semi-finals.
The last time the 20-year-old Kota Bharu-born player scored for the country on the international stage was in the qualifying round of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) 2020 Under-19 Championship in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in November 2019.
In the Group G matches of the qualifying campaign, Luqman Hakim collected five goals after scoring one and four goals respectively against the host team and Brunei before his goal drought began.
Speaking to Bernama after the match against Laos at the Thien Truong Stadium here, Luqman Hakim calmly said he was satisfied to be back on the scorers’ list before suddenly becoming emotional and almost burst into tears.
“First of all, Alhamdulillah, I am very grateful for this result after all the hard work I put in. I am happy, I am also sad because only in 2022 I could again score goals for Malaysia.
“I am very grateful for the support given by the coaches, teammates and especially my family and Malaysian fans who have been waiting for goals from me. I am very excited about myself to see the results of my hard work over the years.
“The sad feeling is there for a reason, it is because I worked hard (starts to cry) for the Malaysian team and for myself. Alhamdulillah, Alhamdulillah, ”said Luqman Hakim, who then had to be calmed down by team officials present.
He added that what he had to go through to prove his ability to be a national team striker is not known to many, apart from describing yesterday’s achievement as a beginning to continue to produce goals for the national squad.
“I am not yet satisfied with my game in the action against Laos and Thailand (last Saturday). The team does not want to win against Laos and Thailand only, we want to win all the matches in the SEA Games, we want to win the gold medal,” he said.
Malaysia, coached by Head Coach Brad Maloney, are on track to advance to the semi-finals of the Hanoi Games men’s football competition as they now lead Group B with six points after beating Thailand and Laos in the first two games.
Maloney’s boys will continue their challenge against Singapore on Saturday before closing out the group stage against Cambodia on May 16. Both matches are scheduled to take place at Thien Truong Stadium.
The last time Malaysia won the gold medal in the men’s football event of the SEA Games was in the 2011 edition in Indonesia under the guidance of head coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee.
Malaysia’s best achievement after that was emerging runners-up and taking home the silver medal in the 2017 edition in Kuala Lumpur, also under Kim Swee, before being eliminated as early as the group stage in the Philippines in the 2019 edition.