The national badminton team last won the Thomas Cup in 1992. NSTP file pic.

KUALA LUMPUR: ‘You do not need to be perfect to be legends.’

This was Rashid Sidek's message to the national shuttlers selected for the Thomas Cup, which starts on Sunday, in Bangkok.

Rashid, a member of the 1992 winning team, said the shuttlers back then were not perfect but they went on to make history because of their burning desire to be successful.

Unfortunately, it has been 26 years, since Malaysia last won the prestigious men's team crown.

"Do you think we had the perfect squad in 1992? I am saying this right now, we were never perfect.

"And the biggest blow was when we lost to South Korea (3-2) in the first group match. Our morale took a beating but that was what fired us to bounce back stronger. “It wasn't about individualism, but a team effort.

"Don't care about what people say. Nobody expected us to win in 1992, just like no one would have expected Japan (2014) or Denmark (2016) to have done it in the last two editions. Similarly, we should not pressure ourselves," said Rashid.

The former national singles coach noted that it was important for squad to adopt a positive approach. Negativity will only bring the team down.

"The key to success is teamwork. It sounds cliche, but that's basically it in a team event.

"It is also very important to make sure no one is offended. There can be no finger-pointing. You win as a team, you lose as a team, period.

"There is no harm in sharing opinions, but it has to be positive and supportive. Just like in 1992, I hope the team this year believes that nothing is impossible.

"One piece of advice is never say die, not until the last point has been won. The match is not over until the final point, so play with heart and give everything you have," added Rashid, who was only 23 when he lifted the coveted trophy at the Stadium Negara in Kuala Lumpur.

This year, the Lee Chong Wei-led team have been drawn in Group D with defending champions Denmark, Russia and Algeria.

The BA of Malaysia (BAM) have set a semi-final target for the team.

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