Kuala Lumpur: Former badminton doubles great Razif Sidek believes sound management is the key to reviving Malaysia’s fortunes in the international badminton arena after the recent dismal performances by our national shuttlers in the world championship and the just concluded Asian Games that has raised concerns among the fans in the country especially with no one in sight to replace Datuk Lee Chong Wei.
In an interview with Express Sports recently, he said Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) should take the blame for the current scenario where Malaysia, who were once the greatest badminton nation in the world since the 1950s, are now far behind countries such as China, Indonesia, Korea, Japan, Thailand and India.
“It is sad to say this but it is the real picture and everybody can see for themselves that even India and Thailand have more players of calibre coming out with their well planned development programme than us.”
“Our current crop of players in the national squad is just not good enough with the obvious exception of Chong Wei and I believe BAM especially the management team should be responsible for the failure to date.”
“In my opinion, they don’t really emphasise on games analysis which I seriously think they should, as monitoring all aspects of coaching, training and tournaments for the players as well as carrying out post-mortem is also a must for any player to improve their game.”
He called on BAM to improve the coaches in their stable and Key Performance Indicators (KPI) should be introduced to ensure that the coaches under their payroll are always on their toes and deliver the results as expected of them.
“KPI should be employed so that coaches can be monitored seriously and they should be given responsibility and targets so that they are not complacent and content with the amount of money they are currently earning.”
“As far as I can see there is a lack of initiative and creativity in some of the coaches’ training method and one of the ways to improve the standard is perhaps they should be replaced to allow new blood to come in with fresher ideas.”
He cited the poor performances of our doubles players as evident by their lack of titles especially in big stages as a good example.
“I believe our current doubles players are just not fit enough to win major tournaments as they do not have enough quality training and as a result they have mental weaknesses that leads to inconsistency in their performances.”
“Without mental toughness, they cannot handle the pressure and it is the main reason why they cannot perform on the big stage. It is made even worse with the ever changing partnership carried out by the respective coaches that we seldom see happening in other countries.”
He said the players must also have permanent coaches to work with and BAM should not keep changing their coaches as it will confuse the players and the players will have no clear idea of what they are supposed to do in order to pursue their career.
He also touched on the women team where he said the players should be treated equally as their men counterparts in order for them to compete with other nations.
“Improving their benefits from what they are getting now is essential for them to take the game seriously and they must also be given the chance to train with men as good tougher training sessions will make them mentally strong. At the moment, most of them are just too soft compared to players from China and even the Europeans.”
“To employ better coaches from China and Indonesia are also necessary to improve our women shuttlers. We have many talented junior players to work on and I really hope one day we will be able to produce world class women players.”
On Chong Wei, he said the World number one is one of the rare species in the sport and he can’t see any of the current players in the national squad emulating his success.
“Chong Wei is a very special player and his attitude in training, discipline and his ability to handle pressure is second to none. He always makes it to the semifinal stage in every tournament that he competes in even with so much expectation from the nation and pressure on his shoulders which in itself is not an easy feat.”