PETALING JAYA: The fire must be lit from the young if Malaysia are to have a shot at Thomas Cup glory once again.
The country has won the title five times but Malaysia have returned home empty handed in the last 13 editions. The last time Malaysia lifted the coveted title was in 1992 when it was held in Kuala Lumpur.
The 1992 team consisted of the Sidek brothers - Rashid, Razif, Jalani - Foo Kok Keong, Soo Beng Kiang, Cheah Soon Kit, Kwan Yoke Meng, Rahman Sidek and Wong Ewee Mun.
Rashid believes the way to raise a championship team is for youngsters from the age of 12 to be inspired and have the vision for glory.
“Players from the age of 12-14 must be given enough inspiration from former legends and winners so that they themselves can believe and aspire to become champions one day.
“They must be given advice and encouragement from the past and experienced players so that they can visualise and get a picture of what it’s like to be champions.
“If no then the players will be training, training and training for what? There is no vision for them, ” said Rashid, currently the head coach at Sports Affairs Badminton Club where he is guiding a new generation of young players.
He added that besides the new Juara Tangkis Tun Dr Siti Hasmah competition, state associations can invite former players and legends to have talks with the younger players.
“We must have more programmes like this where we can bring the legends and new generation of players closer. If the states invite their own ex-players, then it may even be better because everyone will have their own ideas.”
“They could also invite someone like Datuk Lee Chong Wei to give some talk.”
Rashid said that focus must be placed on the juniors to ensure they develop and mature faster as players.
“Nowadays players can be aged 18 to 20 but they still lack the maturity enough because maybe in school or at Under-18 level, they didn’t get enough input from past players and legends.
“So the spirit and fire must start from the grassroots level because that is where the quality and talent comes from. If you can’t find it there, it will be hard to have a new generation of quality players.”
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