WARM-UP: Malaysia to field formidable line-up against South Africa
MALAYSIA, with the more important clash against Denmark tomorrow, in mind, will field allow all their senior players to get proper warm-up when they play South Africa in Group C at Wuhan Sports Centre today.
Malaysia were only allowed a one-hour training session on Saturday and national singles coach Rashid Sidek said that the match against South Africa will be ideal for them to adapt to the air conditioning and competition atmosphere of the Wuhan Sports Centre.
Chong Wei, Liew Daren and Hafiz Hashim should be the three singles to start for Malaysia while Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong and Goh V Shem-Lim Khim Wah will be fielded in the doubles.
South Africa have only four players where Jacob Malieka, Willem Viljoen, Prakash Vijaynath will be the three singles while Viljoen-Dorian James and Malieka-Prakash will be their doubles line-up.
"We will put our best team as we want them to get a proper warm-up before the Denamrk match. The air-conditioning was not on when he trained on Saturday and the stadium was empty. The players must also adapt to the competition atmosphere in the match," said Rashid.
"We should win the match but the most important thing is that the players must settle down and get used to the drought and the crowd.
"Most of them are playing in the Thomas Cup Finals for the first time, so the match will be a good warm-up before we play Denmark on Tuesday (tomorrow)."
A win against South Africa will confirm Malaysia's place in the quarter-finals but their objective is to beat Denmark to finish champions of the group.
The match will also be a good opportunity to test the condition of Hafiz who has suffered a recurrence of an injury to his achilles heel.
Malaysia started the competition on the wrong foot two years ago as they received a walkover from Nigeria, who arrived late for the tournament, in the group stage.
Japan, who were in the same group, played their match against Nigeria and later caught Malaysia off guard to shock them 3-2.
However, both teams qualified for the last eight and also proceeded to the semi-finals before being shown the exit.
In all probability South Africa will be no the match for Malaysia but the five-time champions will not mind getting a useful warm-up today.
Malaysia v South Africa
1st singles: Lee Chong Wei v Jacob Malieka
1st doubles: Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong v Dorian James-Willem Viljoen
2nd singles: Liew Daren v Willem Viljoen
2nd doubles: Goh V Shem-Lim Khim Wah v Jacob Malieka-Prakash Vijaynath
3rd singles: Hafiz Hashim v Prakash Vijaynath
Thomas Cup — Group A: China bt England 5-0; Group B: Japan bt New Zealand 5-0; Group C: Denmark bt South Africa 5-0; Group D: South Korea bt USA 5-0. Uber Cup — Group A: China bt South Africa 5-0; Group B: Netherlands bt Taiwan 3-2; Group C: South Korea bt Australia 5-0; Group D: Japan bt USA 5-0.
Today — 1pm: Malaysia v South Africa (Group C); Germany v USA (Group D); 7pm: Indonesia v England (Group A); Russia v New Zealand (Group B). Tomorrow — 1pm: Denmark v Malaysia (Group C); South Korea v Germany (Group D); 7pm: China v Indonesia (Group A); Japan v Russia (Group B).