KUALA LUMPUR: Former Manchester United midfielder Shinji Kagawa is one of many Japanese stars who started their careers at Japan’s J1 League side Cerezo Osaka.
Now, Malaysia’s up-and-coming striker Luqman Hakim Shamsudin is set to undergo a training stint at the club.
The opportunity will offer him a chance to impress the club for a contract.
The national Under-16 striker is the second Malaysian in five months to attract attention from Japanese clubs.
In December, national Under-19 forward Hadi Fayyadh Abdul Razak was signed for a year by J2 League side Fagiano Okayama.
Luqman is best remembered for finishing joint top-scorer at last year’s AFC Under-16 Championship in Kuala Lumpur with five goals.
A product of the National Football Development Programme (NFDP) under Lim Teong Kim, Luqman, 16, caught the attention of several Japanese clubs during the Sanix Cup in Fukuoka in March.
Kagawa, together with Japanese stars Takashi Inui and Takumi Minamino, are among the products of Cerezo.
The 30-year-old Kagawa, an attacking midfielder who also had a stint with Bundesliga’s Borussia Dortmund, is now playing in Turkey for Besiktas.
Inui is currently with La Liga’s Alves while Minamino plies his trade in the Austrian Bundesliga with Red Bull Salzburg.
Luqman said: “For now, I have not received anything official from the concerned parties but if this is true, I will give my all to shine during the stint.
“My ambition is to play overseas as well as become a successful footballer,” he said.
The J League is one of the most prestigious tournaments in Asia. The league also attracts top scouts from Europe.
Selangor’s Wan Zack Haikal Wan Noor and Perak’s Nazirul Naim Che Hashim both had stints with FC Ryukyu in 2013 in the semi-professional Japan Football League, but failed to make an impact.