PETALING JAYA: Malaysia should face little trouble to reach at least the quarter-finals at the Badminton Asia Mixed Team Champion-ships in Hong Kong from March 19-24.
Malaysia, the seventh seeds, have been drawn together with second seeds China and Macau in Group D in the meet that is also known as Tong Yun Kai Cup.
The national squad made up by second stringers are expected to power past Macau to secure the top two finish with ease.
Like Malaysia and other top teams, China, too, are fielding an under-strength side without their top stars such as men's singles Shi Yuqi, Chen Yufei (women's singles) and Li Junhui-Liu Yuchen (men's doubles).
China, who still boast a dependable back-up squad comprising the likes of world No. 13 mixed doubles pair He Jiting-Du Yue and world No. 14 women's singles Han Yue, should be too strong for Malaysia.
Barring any unforeseen circumstances, Malaysia, could either face defending champions Japan (first), Indonesia (third) and Taiwan (fourth) when a fresh draw is conducted for the knockout stage.
Despite sending an inexperienced side, Badminton Association of Malaysia are expecting the back-up shuttlers to prove their worth and try to improve on their last eight outing in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam two years ago.
Malaysia were beaten 0-3 by China at that time.
The meet this time attracted only 11 teams as compared to 13 in Vietnam with South Korea, the runners-up, the notable absentee.
Malaysia will be represented by Soong Joo Ven, Cheam June Wei (mens singles), Lee Ying Ying, Ho Yen Mei (womens singles), Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin, Low Hang Yee-Ng Eng Cheong (mens doubles), Anna Cheong-Lim Chiew Sien, Pearly Tan-Yap Ling (womens doubles), Cheng Tang Jie-Peck Yen Wei and Hoo Pang Ron-Cheah Yee See (mixed doubles).