Hafiz believes Wooi Yik and Co can beat China at home just like before


Great teamwork: Malaysia men’s doubles shuttlers Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin Rumsani celebrate with teammates after beating Japan’s Akira Koga-Taichi Saito during the quarter-finals match of Thomas Cup finals at Hi-Tech Sports Centre in Chengdu, China on Thursday. — IZZRAFIQ ALIAS/The Star

PETALING JAYA: Former international Mohd Hafiz Hashim wants the Malaysian team headed by captain Soh Wooi Yik to dream big.

Malaysia take on hotshots China in the semi-finals of Thomas Cup Finals in Chengdu, China on Saturday (May 4).

The former All-England champion Hafiz believes with strong team spirit, they can pull the rug from down under the mighty Chinese players.

The 41-year-old Hafiz knows, as he was in the team that shocked the home team in the semi-finals of the Thomas Cup edition in 2002.

"We last beat China in the Thomas Cup in 2002 and we did it at their home in Guangzhou" said Hafiz.

"We eliminated them 3-1. Of course, I hope we can bury the Great Wall of China once again."

Hafiz said every match in the tie would be important.

"But the turning point will be the second singles player Leong Jun Hao. He can turn the tide or pave the way for Malaysia to fight back and be the hero," said Hafiz.

Hafiz was in a similar position at the 2002 edition.

Wong Choong Hann had lost to Xia Xuanze but Choong Tan Fook-Lee Wan Wah had leveled the score after beating Zhang Wei-Chen Qiqiu. Hafiz pulled off the biggest surprise when he put Malaysia ahead 2-1 after stunning Bao Chunlai.

Then, Chan Chong Ming-Chew Choon Eng did their part to bring down Zhang Jun-Wang Wei for the winning point and a place in the final.

"On paper, China are the favourites but I believe, if our team can play like how they played against Japan (3-1) on Thursday, we can beat them. All the best guys," added Hafiz.

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