KUALA LUMPUR: Rashid Sidek has gone through many challenges as a player and coach over the last three decades.
But Thursday, the 45-year-old’s resolve finally snapped. He quit his lucrative-paying job as the national singles coach because he can no longer stand being undermined as a coach.
The 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games bronze medallist handed his resignation letter to Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) general manager Kenny Goh on Thursday, effectively ending his 10-year service as a coach with the national body.
And his move is expected to spark other coaches to do the same in what is seen as a show of revolt against BAM under the leadership of new president Tengku Tan Sri Mahaleel Tengku Ariff, who took over more than a month ago.
Since Tengku Mahaleel gave full authority to his Talent Management Group (TMG) director Tan Aik Mong to manage the coaches and players, there has been a major shake-up which has not gone down too well with the coaches.
The coaches feel they are not consulted or engaged in decision-making processes. They also feel powerless and treated as though they do not know anything about coaching.
Some of the changes that have caused uneasiness are the formation of two main groups in the national team, the demotion and promotion of coaches, the introduction of ranking tournaments and a freeze on tournaments for some players.
Rashid, who was previously the singles chief coach, was placed in Team A, under the charge of his elder brother Razif. The other singles coaches under Razif are Tey Seu Bock and Zhou Kejian.
Rashid was given three players to work with - Liew Daren, Chong Wei Feng and Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin. Seu Bock was charged with Lee Chong Wei, Goh Soon Huat and Loh Wei Sheng, while Kejian, the former Bukit Jalil Sports School chief coach, was asked to take care of Tan Kian Meng and Choong Yee Han.
Rashid, who won the Coach of the Year award last year, said that he tried his best to adapt and follow the new rules and procedures set by the new management but it has taken away his joy in coaching.
He hopes that BAM would review their plans and that his move would pave the way for other coaches to enjoy more respect.
“I am not satisfied with the new management. First of all, they treat all coaches as though we are beginners. They did not discuss anything with us,” he said over a two-hour interview at a coffee house near his residential area.
“We were given instructions and we are expected to follow without any questions asked. I used to enjoy coaching but not anymore. I am hurt right now.
“They send a BJSS coach to monitor our training and we have to strictly follow what we have written in our training programme. We cannot make slight changes to our programme even if we think that our players are tired and need some breathing space.
“There is a CCTV inside the stadium. I feel like a prisoner and all my moves are restricted. I cannot spar with the players and all I need to do is stand outside the court and point my finger here and there and give instructions to players. This is a directive from Aik Mong.
“Why is the management poking its head into the affairs of the coaches? I do not understand.
“I am tired of the whole thing ... and for me, the best way forward is to quit. All the other coaches are feeling the same but others do not dare quit because they have commitments. I earn more than RM10,000 a month and it is a huge amount to give up just like that. Fortunately, my family members are understanding.”
Asked whether the presence of Razif was one of the factors in his decision to back out, Rashid said: “It has nothing to do with my brother. In fact, I think, he is stuck in the middle. He has to carry out the instructions given to him.”
On his future plans, he said: “For now, I just want to rest. I feel a huge burden is off my shoulders. As a coach, I enjoyed the good moments when our players won titles.
“I will miss the training environment and the players. Chong Wei has set a high bar for other players and I hope more youngsters will show strong resolve and commitment like him.”
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