Li Yongbo rejects BAM’s offer to coach in Malaysia

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Li Yongbo takes pictures with some Malaysian players. (photo: Sports Arena Sentosa Facebook)
Li Yongbo takes pictures with some Malaysian players. (photo: Sports Arena Sentosa Facebook)

Kuala Lumpur: China’s long-standing badminton boss Li Yongbo who stepped down as the head coach of the Chinese team in 2017 after 24 years at the helm, was spotted having fun with some young Malaysian badminton players at a badminton club in Kuala Lumpur two days ago.

Li’s visit to Malaysia had inevitably sparked speculation that he had secretly talked to the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) about the technical director position that was emptied by Morten Frost after the Denmark badminton legend tendered his resignation on Sept 11, 2017 citing personal reasons.

Malaysian media reported on Thursday that BAM’s president Mohamad Norza Zakaria acknowledged that the organization had approached Li for that position, but Li eventually turned down BAM’s offer.

Li Yongbo signs autographs for badminton fans. (photo: Sports Arena Sentosa Facebook)
Li Yongbo signs autographs for badminton fans. (photo: Sports Arena Sentosa Facebook)

“BAM secretary Ng Chin Chai did contact Li Yongbo about the position, but Li Yongbo declined the offer,” said Zakaria to Malaysian media.

When reporters contacted Ng late Thursday, he also admitted that BAM did get a hold with Li Yongbo through a third-party, but the 56-year-old coach insisted he was not interested.

“We contacted Yongbo through a third party but he told us he was not interested in that position. That’s all we’ve discussed,” said Ng.

“I’m not sure Yongbo’s real purpose in Malaysia, maybe just a social visit. But his presence has nothing to do with BAM and no negotiations have been made,” explained Ng.

It seemed like Li was meeting with the Petaling Badminton Club in matters related to the Malaysian Purple League.

BAM is currently in the process of finalizing the technical director position from the potential three candidates, including former Indonesian Olympic champion Rexy Mainaky, former BAM player Wong Choong Hann and current Malaysian men’s singles coach Misbun Sidek who would be promoted if chosen for that position.

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