KUALA LUMPUR: Who is the ideal candidate for the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM)’s coaching director post?
The BA of Malaysia are looking for a supremo again in a bid to revive the dwindling fortune of Malaysian badminton after a series of unimpressive performances at major competitions this year.
Unfortunately, there are not many suitable candidates around to assume the hot seat.
The likes of South Korean legend Park Joo-bong and Indonesian great Rexy Mainaky are doing great jobs as the head coaches in Japan and Thailand and they are unlikely to leave before the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020.
Joo-bong was Malaysia’s chief coach from 2000-2003 while Rexy served the BA of Malaysia as the doubles head from 2005-2012.
There is, however, the charismatic Li Yongbo, who led China to win all five gold medals at the 2012 London Olympics.
Former international Yongbo, who spend 24 years with China’s national team before stepping down in April last year, is currently the vice-president of the China BA. It’s unsure whether he will be keen to join BAM.
But one thing is for sure, it will take a big pay packet to tempt these legends.
Former technical director Morten Frost of Denmark was paid a hefty monthly salary but he left in September last year.
What about local candidates?
Can any of the current head coaches – Datuk Misbun Sidek (men’s singles), Datuk Tey Seu Bock (women’s singles), Paulus Firman (men’s doubles), Rosman Razak (women’s doubles) and Pang Cheh Chang (mixed doubles) be promoted to helm the team?
If BAM are looking at former greats from within the country, then, former internationals Wong Choong Hann, Lee Wan Wah, Rashid Sidek, Datuk Razif Sidek and Datuk James Selvaraj are options to be considered.
BAM president Datuk Seri Norza Zakaria admitted that hiring a supremo would not come cheap but they were not going to break the bank.
“There’s plenty to consider especially regarding the budget,” said Norza.
“It will be costly to get someone established and even more so, if they already have a contract with another country.
“We will not go overboard in hiring a coaching director. We would rather spend more on sending our players for tournaments as the Olympic Games qualification period begins next year.”
“We don’t want to rush into making decision. Presently, we have a proper system in place with five head coaches helming their respective departments. A coaching director will merely complement the existing system,” said Norza.
On the main selection criteria, Norza said: “He must be someone who’s able to identify the root of our problems. Our players are still weak mentally and this is one of the areas that need to be rectified.”
“And I hope, he would be able to instil discipline among the players and raise the standard of the sport.”