Coaches and players not spared in BAM’s latest downsizing exercise

Not safe: Soong Joo Ven survived the chop when BAM trimmed down the squad in August. — AFP

Not safe: Soong Joo Ven survived the chop when BAM trimmed down the squad in August. — AFP

KUALA LUMPUR: Not only players, but some coaches are also on their way out as Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) continued to trim down the national team.

The entire squad will consist of only 48 players by the end of next month, a reduction of 12 players from the existing 60-player set-up.

Five shuttlers – Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin (men’s singles), Lee Zii Yii (women’s singles), Woon Khe Wei, Tan Sueh Jeou and Goh Yea Ching (women’s doubles) have already tendered their resignations – meaning the BAM are expected to drop seven more players.

The BAM coaching and training (CNT) committee had previously said they wanted to transform the bloated squad into a lean and mean set-up in stages, so that it would eventually made up of only two elite singles or pairs in each department while back-up members are those who are aged 21 and below deemed to have a bright future.

And going by these criteria, then the days of several players who survived the earlier chop in August now appeared to be numbered.

They are Lim Chi Wing and Soong Joo Ven in the men’s singles, Tan Wee Gien and Shia Chun Kang (men’s doubles) and Lim Yin Fun (women’s singles).

CNT chairman Datuk Ng Chin Chai said the contract of five coaches have also not been renewed.

“We have asked coaches to comeback with the proposed names (to be released) by next month,” said Chin Chai after chairing the CNT committee meeting yesterday.

“With a smaller squad, we will also have to reduce on the number of coaches.

“Currently we have 17 coaches, and we will trim it to 12. These are the coaches whose contracts are expiring soon. We have informed them before this meeting but it will be unfair for me to name them now.

“This is our new policy because we have previously grown from a medium size national squad to a large squad, and yet our shuttlers have not done any better.

“Hopefully with a smaller team, we will be able to perform better.”

While BAM are focusing on keeping their compact, they are still on the lookout for potential players.

BAM will hold a trial in mid January for those identified candidates from the professional clubs and state BAs to fight for their place.

“Even though we trim down the players, we still want to give the opportunity to outstanding players to try get into the national team,” said Chin Chai.

“These players are those who excelled in the national tournaments. We don’t have much space but if the players are outstanding, we are willing to give them a chance.”