KUALA LUMPUR: Badminton Association of Malaysia’s (BAM) national junior development director Datuk Misbun Sidek said former Thomas Cup winner Kwan Yoke Meng is still a wanted man.
Misbun insisted that the 54-year-old Yoke Meng, a member of Malaysia’s victorious 1992 Thomas Cup squad, is very much an important member of his coaching set-up despite being dropped as coach from the boys’ Under-18 squad and appointed trainer for the girls’ Under-13 team.
It was Yoke Meng’s second “demotion” in five months as he was previously in charge of the national junior squad for nearly five years prior to Misbun’s appointment in January.
The girls’ junior squad are classed under three groups – Under-13,14 and 15 while the boys are categorised under a single Under-15 age group and trained by Hafiz Hashim and Alvin Chew.
The girls’ Under-15 and Under-14 squads are handled by long-serving Chinese coach Zhang Hongyu.
Misbun wants Yoke Meng to not take the new arrangement with pessimism and take it as a new challenge instead.
“He should not be demoralised. In fact, he has an important task at hand, ” said Misbun.
“I was given the mandate to put the coaching and training programme in order, and what I did was swapping roles between the coaches. I did not do anything drastic, none of the coaches were removed.
“I wanted to give everyone a chance to show what they can do.
“Yoke Meng has been with the national team for a long time. He was handling the Under-18 boys previously, so I don’t see anything wrong with me giving him a new role.
“With the experience and calibre he has, he should not have any problems managing the girls Under-13 squad. I’m looking forward to him raising these players’ standard to a level on par with those in the Under-15 and 16 age groups.”
Misbun, who now has nine coaches under his charge, stressed that all coaches have big roles to play in grooming the young players.
“As junior coaches, we’re the ones responsible for ensuring the smooth transition from junior to senior level, ” explained Misbun.
“Our job is to provide the players with the right foundation so that when they become seniors, all the coaches need to do is just to fine-tune them. Failing to do this will reflect badly on our development programme.”
The other junior coaches are Hazwan Jamaluddin and Poh Chai Boon (Under-18 boys’ singles); Pang Cheh Chang, Vountus Indra Mawan and Lutfi Zaim Abdul Khalid (Under-18 boys’ doubles).
Misbun is hoping to include two more coaches to help manage the junior squad of 77 players aged between 13 and 18.
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