Mixed reactions to the new coaching set-up

  • Other Sport
  • Wednesday, 12 Jan 2005

THE appointment of Chinese Li Mao as a “high performance” coach for the men's singles player has brought mixed reaction from the national players. 

Two years ago, the Badminton Association of Malaysia decided to opt for an all-local line-up to handle the national team and they appointed Misbun Sidek and Yap Kim Hock as their singles and doubles chief coach respectively. The inclusion of the 46-year-old Li Mao in the national coaching set-up has raised some eyebrows. 

There were questions over the rationale behind the BAM’s move while some felt that it was a good decision.  


(Seven-time All-England champion)  

I THINK this is a very good move by the BAM. And I am more than pleased with the way Misbun handled the matter. 

He showed support. There must be co-operation between Misbun and Li Mao instead of confrontation. And from what I read, Misbun has given the assurance that he will work hand-in-hand with Li Mao. He has got the right attitude. 

Li Mao is a well-known coach in China and South Korea and I am sure his presence will help strengthen the team. I support his inclusion in the coaching set-up whole-heartedly. 

I admit, that I had supported the BAM move to give locals the chance to coach the national team. Now, they are bringing in a foreign coach because they lack coaches. I understand this. 

There will be a transfer of technology from Li Mao and the players and local coaches should benefit from this. 


(Former All-England doubles champion  

with Ng Boon Bee and a member of  

1967 Thomas Cup-winning team)  

WELL, I think Li Mao should not be coaching the elite team. 

Seniors like Wong Choong Hann, Lee Tsuen Seng and Yeoh Kay Bin will not benefit from him. You cannot expect a coach to come and change the way you play after you are above 25 years' old. The players will find it difficult to adapt to the sudden changes and it will disrupt their game. 

But I am not against the idea of bringing in Li Mao. I think it would be better to put him in charge of the juniors. 

We do not have a strong back-up base. With the experience from Li Mao, he can strengthen and improve the standard of the juniors. This move will be more rewarding for the BAM. 

I think Misbun should be left with the national team. He has been there for two years he needs time to continue with his work. Some of the youngsters under his tenure have showed vast improvement. 


(Thomas Cupper, former national coach and national singles champion)  

I AM in two minds over BAM’s decision to hire Li Mao. 

I do not know the rationale behind their move. By bringing in Li Mao, are they telling us that Misbun has failed in his job? Isn't there bound to be conflict when two people with the same positions handle the same team? 

But now that the BAM have already hired Li Mao, I feel he should be coaching the elite team. I think Misbun should coach the second-base players. 

I have coached Misbun before and I have been following his movement. Misbun has a way with the youngsters. 

The juniors can relate to him. In fact, they look up to him. They can associate with Misbun as their role model. And I think he is the best candidate to groom young ones to become champions. 

Misbun should be the one going to the kampungs and identifying talent.  


(Former national number one)  

THE BAM’s decision to hire Li Mao proves that I was right. 

Two years ago, I made an opinion to them not to remove (Indonesian) Indra Gunawan as the chief coach but it fell on deaf ears. 

The BAM insisted on going all-local. Making myself heard only brought me a suspension; then the axe from the national team; and a premature end to my international playing career. 

Then, there were no results in the Thomas Cup Finals (in Jakarta) and the Olympics (in Athens) last year. Now they go back to hiring a foreigner again. 

It is a good move. But as in any company, it is difficult when you have “two heads” to lead a team. I hope there will not be problems (in Misbun and Li Mao working together). 

But if I were Misbun, I would look at the BAM’s decision to bring in Li Mao as telling him that he has not done his job well.

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