Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia men’s singles Chief coach Misbun Sidek ensured his options remain open as he planned the process of making an impact at the 2018 Thomas Cup Finals in Bangkok.
This followed the encouraging performances from two players – Daren Liew and Leong Jun Hao that were not listed by the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) in the Badminton Asia Team Championships squad in Alor Setar from Feb 6 to Feb 11, which is also the qualifying tournament for the Thomas and Uber Cups.
Based on the announcement made by BAM on Jan 5th, 2018, they have named Lee Chong Wei, Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin, Soong Joo Ven, and Lee Zii Jia for the Badminton Asia Team Championships squad. Although Lee was defeated by Kenta Nishimoto in the first round of Malaysia Masters last Wednesday, it was understandable that he wasn’t fully ready for the tournament held early of the year, and based on his track record, he would undoubtedly be the most stable player in the squad.
The main concerns were infract on players such as Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin, Soong Joo Ven, and Lee Zii Jia, who also made the list but both Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin and Soong Joo Ven were ousted in the first round of Malaysia Masters, while Lee Zii Jia was sent packing in the second round.
According to Sidek, for now, they will retain the players originally listed for the Thomas Cup qualifying in Alor Setar next month.
“We will definitely discuss the player changes and roster updates on the Thomas Cup team after the Asian Team Championship. We’ll see how those players I chose perform in Alor Setar,” said Sidek.
Sidek admitted that he and BAM are however willing to list non-BAM players to the official Thomas Cup roster.
“Some of these players suddenly showed great poise and maturity that allowed them to do well. I need to know what have changed in their mind that allowed them to excel,” added Sidek.
“If have to give these players an opportunity to play for the country if they can remain consistent in their performances.”
In addition to potential changes to the Malaysia Thomas Cup squad, Malaysia’s women’s singles chief coach Tey Seu Bock also revealed a potential change in the Malaysia’s Uber Cup squad due to injury problems and better performance from Lee Ying Ying who was not listed in the Asia Team Championships squad.