KUALA LUMPUR: National men’s singles head coach Datuk Misbun Sidek insists there are no hard feelings with the Badminton Association of Malaysia’s (BAM) surprise move to put four of his players under his counterpart Hendrawan.
The 59-year-old has been handling the likes of national No. 1 Lee Zii Jia and Soong Joo Ven since he returned to the BAM for his second stint in 2017.
And in the past nine months, the duo have showed vast improvement on the international stage.
Zii Jia, 21, earned his breakthrough by clinching the Taiwan Open title last October and is now at a career-best 18th in the world rankings.
He was ranked a lowly 240 when he was promoted to the senior team two years ago.
Joo Ven made the World Tour quarter-finals at the German Open and Australian Open, something he struggled to accomplish previously. His ranking has rose from 96th in February to 56th.
The 24-year-old also lifted two titles, the National Championships in February and the Malaysian International Series last month.
The other two players are Cheam June Wei and rising star Lim Chong King.
Misbun and his assistant Indra Wijaya are now left with six players – Leong Jun Hao, Aidil Sholeh Ali Sadikin, Ng Tze Yong, Lim Chi Wing, Tan Jia Wei and Muhd Ziyad Tah.
“I’m fine with the arrangement. I have no problem with the four being handled by Hendrawan,” said Misbun, who had just extended his contract by another year.
“There must be a reason why they (the management) made these changes. They must have thought the restructuring will be good for the singles squad.
“As a coach under the BAM payroll, my job is to help any player under my care and make them better. I can’t choose who I want to train.
“Initially I was in two minds on whether to continue with BAM. But then I felt like I have unfinished business. They still need me, so I decided to stay on.”
Misbun will now turn his attention to promising youngsters such as Jun Hao, Aidil and Tze Yong.
“I’ll do my best to elevate the six players,” he added.
“With just six, it’s easier for us to focus and give them the best attention.”
Misbun will also be on the lookout for fresh talents.
In fact, there’s one shuttler who has caught his eye – his 15-year-old nephew Muhd Fazriq – the youngest son of his brother Razif.
Last week at the National Junior Grand Prix Finals, Fazriq claimed the singles and doubles titles.
The triumph came barely a week after he won the Under-15 Shonai Invitational in Japan.
“The boy showed his prowess in both events. I was also the singles and doubles champion at national level,” he said.
“From my point of view, tactically he makes a good singles player judging from his movements and shuttle control.”
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