KUALA LUMPUR: The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) took a swipe at national singles coach Rashid Sidek by discrediting him and his loyalty as a coach despite his 10-years of tireless service to the nation.
On Friday, president Tengku Tan Sri Mahaleel Tengku Ariff said that the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games bronze medallist and three-time national champion’s decision to leave the national team was not a big loss to BAM.
And to add salt to injury, Rashid may be referred to the rules and discipline committee over an alleged breach of contract on a separate and unrelated matter altogether.
The BAM is now questioning and investigating Rashid on his one-year contract as a coach with the Delhi Smashers in the recently-concluded Indian Badminton League (IBL).
On Thursday, Rashid had tendered his resignation saying he could no longer stand being undermined as a coach in BAM’s new coaching set-up under the charge of Talent Management Group (TMG) director Tan Aik Mong.
His move could create a domino effect - with others quitting the team in batches too.
Even world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei has stood up for his coach but it is learnt that his boldness was not well received by the management.
On Friday, a confrontational Tengku Mahaleel, who flew here from Kota Baru despite being sick, said that Rashid had failed to produce the second echelon of players and successors to Chong Wei.
“If Rashid goes away, is it a loss for us? It is not a loss. We have a lot of coaches. If the coaches do not agree with our system, then, what can we do,” asked Tengku Mahaleel.
“He says that he cannot work with me. I do not even know Rashid. I have not met him. He did not find time to talk to me. He just said ‘hello’ when we passed by once. Is that not being unfair to me?
“We have brought in Razif Sidek (1992 Barcelona Olympic Games bronze medallist). Razif is not a coach but an assessor. He is helping and assessing the coaches to come out with different methods. We have two groups now. Previously, we had too many coaches. Some coaches had two or three players under them, some had about eight under them. Now, it is well spread.
“I have started a new way of analysing the coaches based on their players’ performances. If you minus Chong Wei from the list, Rashid’s other players have not achieved much. Their percentage of wins is low. If Chong Wei is sick one day, can we depend on these other players to win the world title or Olympic Games?”
Mahaleel does not consider Rashid’s role in assisting Chong Wei; Liew Daren’s breakthrough of winning the French Open last year and Wei Feng’s marked improvement over the last two years as a sign of progress.
“There are four major tournaments next year - Thomas Cup, Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and the World Championships. We must make changes to the system now if we want a winning team for these tournaments. If we continue with the old system, there will not be results and the council may boot me out.”
Mahaleel was more riled up about Rashid’s one-year contract with Delhi Smashers although the latter and several others - Tey Seu Bock and eight Malaysian players including Chong Wei - had been given the blessings to compete in the IBL by the previous BAM administration under Datuk Seri Nadzmi Mohd Salleh.
“We came across a document and in that, Rashid acknowledged his one-year contract with Delhi Smashers. Isn’t that shocking? Rashid went public with his statement to 28 million people. Is he humiliating us or are we humiliating him?” said Tengku Mahaleel.
“Rashid has a contract with BAM from January 2013 to December 2014. How can he have a contract paid by Malaysia and another contract with another country? If the document is true, then by law, it is a breach of contract and the consequences are very, very, very severe.
“If he goes to India, who is going to train his players at home? We have major tournaments next year and what is the assurance that our secret methods will not be shared with our opponents?
“I want BAM to export coaches in future and if Rashid gets a job with India, it is good for us, but we must get the legal aspect right.”
When it was pointed out at Friday’s press conference that the previous BAM administration had approved Rashid’s participation, Tengku Mahaleel said: “I was not around at that time but a contract is a contract. We will investigate this. If an official gave the nod for these coaches to go for the IBL, then, this official has to be answerable. We will allow the discipline committee (who will meet on Saturday) to go through the due processes.”