Rashid Sidek (right) giving instructions to Chong Wei Feng in a file photo. Rashid’s immediate task is to get the players psyched up for the Malaysia Open Grand Prix Gold.
KUALA LUMPUR: Rashid Sidek is glad to be back at the national training centre as the singles chief coach to restore order to the daily programme for players and coaches.
Since Rashid’s and Tan Kim Her’s removal as chief coaches of the singles and doubles department last September, the coaches in the national team have not had a leader among them to communicate their plans and programmes.
All of them were approached individually depending on which working committee they had to report to.
On Thursday, the Badminton Association of Malaysia’s (BAM) exco decided that they needed a chief coach for both the singles and doubles departments after their failure to find a supremo to handle the national team.
Their plan to re-hire Datuk Misbun Sidek as the national coaching director fell through when the latter turned down the offer.
While the BAM exco have named Rashid as the singles chief coach, they are unable to name anyone for the doubles department. For the time being, it looks like Rashid’s responsibility will extend to overseeing all coaches until the BAM names a leader for the doubles department.
Kim Her’s contract has been extended and he will continue to look after the men’s doubles back-up shuttlers.
Rashid, who is glad to be back at the helm, said that his number one priority is to keep the team together in their preparations for the Thomas and Uber Cup Finals in New Delhi from May 18-25.
“I am honoured to be the head again. For now, I will make sure that our team’s preparations are on track for the Thomas and Uber Cup Finals,” he said.
Rashid, who was the recipient of the 2012 Coach of the Year award, has an important role – to plan and strategise the team’s approach for both the Thomas and Uber Cup Finals.
He has to ensure that his team are ready with the head-to-head information of their players against all their opponents. He will also have to facilitate the motivational camp and build confidence, and determine the probable line-ups by working closely with the coaches. All this, while also working closely with the National Sports Institute (NSI) experts to tap the best from all their players – physically, mentally and technically.
Fortunately, all these responsibilities are not new to Rashid and his coaches as they had done so before as a team.
For now, though, Rashid’s immediate task is to get the players psyched up for the Malaysia Open Grand Prix Gold starting on Wednesday in Pasir Gudang, Johor. The bulk of the players from the national team are competing against promising stars from China, India, Japan, Indonesia and Taiwan.
In the men’s singles, in the absence of world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei, Liew Daren and Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin, Malaysia are pinning their hopes on Chong Wei Feng, Soo Teck Zhi, Chong Yee Han, Mohd Nur Azriyn Ayub, Goh Soon Huat, Goh Giap Chin and several independent shuttlers like former world junior champion Zulfadli Zulkiffli, Mohd Arif Abdul Latif, Kuan Beng Hong and K. Yogendran.
Last year, Malaysia only won one title through Lim Khim Wah-Goh V Shem in the men’s doubles, while Soon Huat let slip a chance to nail his first international title after losing to Alamsyah Yunus of Indonesia in the men’s singles final.