KUALA LUMPUR: Former national singles chief coach Indra Gunawan is back in the country but he is hoping nobody misconstrues his presence here.
Yesterday, the 56-year-old Indra, said he would officially begin work as consultant or chief coach for veteran Ong Ewe Hock's team only after ironing out several matters.
Since being dropped from the national squad, Ewe Hock and several others players have been training at the Kong Meng Badminton Hall to keep alive their hopes of competing in international tournaments.
They received a huge boost last month when Naza Kia decided to sponsor Ewe Hock and four other players - Ismail Saman, Sairul Amar Ayob, Ng Kean Kok and Allan Tai.
Indra, who is the manager of the six-court Wira Hall in Jakarta, said he wanted a club formed in Malaysia with a long-term vision and objective.
“It is pointless to join a club when you are not sure it will last long. A lot of things have to be considered and the three major factors are the sponsors, coaches and players.
“There is need to have a strong sponsor backing, responsible coaches and dedicated players,” said Indra.
“I am very happy that Naza Kia have come in to sponsor the players while I am glad that Razif is also coming in to help the players. As for me, the Naza Kia have not approached me yet. There need to be a lot of discussions before things are finalised,” he said.
Indra said the emergence of Ewe Hock's team should motivate other clubs in the country.
“The formation of a club for Ewe Hock and his friends should be taken as a positive step. It should not be seen as competition with the national team.
“Having many clubs will increase the standard and competitiveness of the game in the country. In Indonesia for instance, there are three top clubs (Djarum, Tangkas and Cahayaraya) who have been there for the last 20 years - and doing well too,” said Indra.
“I have no other motive except to help these players. By having a club, they can still pursue their dream to play for the country.”
Indra said he would rather concentrate on advising rather than coaching.
“For now, we do not have a coach in mind but we will find one. But one day, Ewe Hock must be able to take up that job.”
“I am not getting any younger and I no longer prefer to be on the court. I prefer to advise or draft programmes for the players.”