Chin Chai to let go of under-performing national trainees

KUALA LUMPUR: Younger, leaner and meaner.

That will be the new shape of the national badminton team under Datuk Ng Chin Chai (pic) as the new Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) coaching and training committee (CNT) chairman.

Yesterday, the BAM secretary took over the CNT chairman post from BAM president Datuk Seri Norza Zakaria. Norza has relinquished the CNT chairman post following the failure of the Thomas and Uber Cup squads to achieve their targets.

Chin Chai said he intends to cut down on the bloated 73-player squad. That means, the writing is on the wall for under-performers such as 22-year-old Soo Teck Zhi, Soong Joo Ven (23), Chong Yee Han (23), Lim Chi Wing (23), Chooi Kah Ming (27) and Low Juan Shen (24).

The BAM intend to retain only the top two singles players and pairs in the elite squad in all five departments. Only Lee Chong Wei and Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin will be in the men’s singles elite and Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong and Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi in the men’s doubles.

The back-up squad will consist of players aged 21 and below and those deemed to have a good future.

Chin Chai has not given the timeline for the reshuffle to take place, but it’s expected to be in August.

“My first task is to review the national squad. It’s too large. We consider some players as excess baggage,” said Chin Chai.

“To move forward, we need to strictly review the position of each player in the squad, except Chong Wei. We have to plan for a younger, leaner and meaner squad.

“I plan to keep only the top two elite players in each department and move the rest of Under-21 players to the back-up squads.

“There are hopes on players aged 21 and below because we have the time to groom them.

“But the same can’t be said for players above that age group because they have been with the team for years and made no progress. We’ve identified them.

“The ideal number should not be bigger than 40. There are too many people sharing the cake now. So, the coaches can’t focus on the best players.”

On hiring of a technical director, Chin Chai had his reservations.

“We must have somebody managing all the coaches. If not a technical director, maybe a full-time team manager or co-ordinator.”

“Our five head coaches Datuk Misbun Sidek (men’s singles), Datuk Tey Seu Bock (women’s singles), Cheah Soon Kit (men’s doubles), Rosman Razak (women’s doubles) and Pang Cheh Chang (mixed doubles) are highly qualified coaches.

“It may not be necessary to put another higher qualified technical person above them. Perhaps, we only need someone who can manage them.”