THE national women’s basketball team have accomplished their mission – retain the gold.
Now comes time for rebuilding as some of the seniors, including skipper Nur Izzati Yaakob and centre R. Kalaimathi are thinking of retiring.
“I’m really happy that we achieved our mission of winning in front of the home crowd,” said head coach Yoong Sze Yuin.
“It’s thanks to everyone who supported us that we managed to pull off this feat.
“Winning the gold in two straight SEA Games, including at Singapore 2015, is a great feat but I’m not sure if we can make it a hattrick.
“Some of the seniors are thinking of retiring, but I’m hoping they will carry on until the Philippines Games in 2019 given the surge of popularity for basketball now.
“We’ll still need to rebuild, though. I have good juniors ready to be unleashed. Maybe it’s time to expose them.
“As for our rivals, Indonesia are likely be the strongest in two years’ time. They’ve improved tremendously and have a lot of young players.
“Thailand and the Philippines will also be strong, but the core of their current teams comprise mostly veterans too.”
Malaysia’s immediate task will be to prepare for next April’s Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia.
The men’s team, meanwhile, had a decent tournament – finishing fifth out of nine nations.
Powered by American-born forward Perry Lim, the team battled hard against the likes of Thailand and the Philippines.
Head coach Goh Cheng Huat has a lot of work ahead to whip his men into serious medal contenders in 2019.See our full coverage of SEA Games 2017