Luqman Hakim completes move to Belgian club KV Kortrijk

The teen sensation is one of the 80 young talents around the world preliminarily listed for this year’s Golden Boy Award

MALAYSIAN football teen sensation Luqman Hakim Shamsudin yesterday completed his move to Belgian professional club KV Kortrijk on a five-year deal after months of pushing for a departure from Selangor.

At just 18, Luqman Hakim, who is a key player for the national Under 19 (U-19) squad, will be the first Malaysian to turn out in the Belgian First Division A.

It is understood that Luqman Hakim will earn around RM20,000 to RM23,000 monthly, as well as be provided with an apartment and car.

He was introduced as a De Kerels (The Guys) player at a special signing ceremony in Kuala Lumpur, which was attended by local business tycoon Tan Sri Vincent Tan, who is also the owner of KV Kortrijk, Belgian Ambassador to Malaysia Pascal H Gregoire and Football Association of Selangor (FAS) secretary-general Dr Johan Kamal Hamidon.

“(It is a) great occasion for Malaysian football. He might be the first Malaysian playing in Europe and first Malaysian playing in the Belgium premier league.

“It’s a big decision for the club. The management thinks it’s too early, but as an owner, I said give him (Luqman Hakim) a chance,” Tan told a press conference afterwards.

Luqman Hakim is expected to leave for Kortrijk next week to undergo a medical screening ahead of the new Jupiler Pro League season scheduled to start this month.

The top scorer of the Asian Football Confederation U-16 Championship 2018 is delighted to finally join the Belgian side after months of protracted talks, including reports linking him with several European clubs.

“I am very proud and grateful to be given the opportunity to play there. I hope Malaysians will pray that I can be at my 100%,” said the Kota Baru-born player.

Had things gone as planned, Luqman Hakim would have spent three months from January training with English Championship club Cardiff City, which is also owned by Tan, before joining KV Kortrijk, but the Covid-19 pandemic put paid to his plans as most countries closed their borders and he was forced to stay back.

Luqman Hakim has made it to The Guardian’s annual list of Next Generation’s 60 of the world’s best young talent and is also one of the 80 young talents around the world preliminarily listed for this year’s Golden Boy award. — Bernama