ALOR STAR: BA of Malaysia (BAM) president Datuk Seri Norza Zakaria has hinted at changes for the national men’s squad in the build up to the Thomas Cup in Bangkok come this May which includes giving younger players a chance to play for the country.
According to him, after discussing with the coaches and team manager Datuk Ng Chi Chai after the semi-final loss to China yesterday in the Badminton Asia Team Championship, they have decided to allow young and upcoming players to be given the chance to represent the country at the highest level.
"Even though only Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong won their match yesterday, but we have learnt a lot from what we have achieved here,” said Norza who also chairs BAM’s Coaching and Training (C&T) committee.
The national squad’s progress came to a halt in the semi-finals yesterday when they went down 3-1 to China at the Sultan Abdul Halim Stadium.
Norza’s statement is a sign that the time has come for 2017 World Youth runner-up Leong Jun Hao needs to be part of the squad especially with the Thomas Cup just three months away.
"I am actually very, very proud of our Thomas Cup squad’s achievements because before this there was some confusion with regards to the team’s preparation. After their shock opening round loss to Thailand, the national squad showed their true colours by beating Taiwan who are the fourth best team in the world, as well as Hong Kong in the quarter-finals.
"It is certain that we will be looking into the men’s singles and doubles. We will be taking both into account in terms of strengths and weaknesses. The loss to China who fielded their second stringers gave us a lesson in better understanding what are our weaknesses that we need to work on,” he said.
Norza added that not putting top men’s singles player Lee Chong Wei as first singles for yesterday’s semi-final has given them a valuable lesson.
"We have three months, just three months to prepare the national squad both mentally and physically for the Thomas Cup. During the C&T meeting on Tuesday (February 13) we will be discussing on the changes that will be made so that we can once again be a team that is feared,” said Norza.
If there are any changes in the men’s squad then those whose places could be jeopardy are singles players Soong Joo Ven, Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin along with doubles Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi.