ALOR SETAR, Feb 5 — National badminton singles head coach Datuk Misbun Sidek is confident the line-up of singles players can contribute maximum points at the 2018 Asia Team Championships at the Sultan Abdul Halim Stadium, Suka Menanti, here, which takes place from tomorrow till Feb 11.
He said Datuk Lee Chong Wei, who would be leading the line-up as the first singles player, would not face any problem in contributing the first point.
The second singles match would be played by Lee Zii Jia, while the third singles would most likely feature Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin.
“We will make the final arrangement, and we hope all three players can contribute full points. If they can play well, we will automatically achieve good results.
“We have a balance of young and old players. What distinguishes them is experience. I hope to line-up the best team for tomorrow’s challenge,” he said when met after a training session here today.
Meanwhile, Misbun said that the first group C encounter against Thailand tomorrow was an even match-up.
“We cannot take our Thai rivals lightly. I predict it will be a 50-50 match-up.
“Thailand has a line-up on par with our team... there are good singles players, good doubles players, so goes for our team. Our advantage is with the presence of Datuk Lee Chong Wei,” he said.
Meanwhile, commenting on Iskandar Zulkarnain, he hoped the 27-year-old could maintain his momentum after a fine display in the Indian Open on Saturday.
“I see Iskandar’s performance is improving and I’m really hoping that the momentum continues,” he said.
So far, only Chong Wei and Zii Jia have confirmed their place in the squad, while the third singles spot will either be taken up by Iskandar Zulkarnain or Soon Joo Vern.
For the men’s doubles, Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong will be the main pair, while Teo Ee Yi-Ong Yew Sin will go second.
Malaysia has been drawn in Group C with Thailand, Taiwan and Myanmar, with an eye to enter the Thomas Cup finals in Bangkok in May, on merit.
Malaysia needs to reach the semifinals of the tournament, which is also the qualifying round for the Thomas Cup.
Tomorrow, the women’s squad will also be in action against Vietnam to grab a spot in the Uber Cup.
The squad was drawn in group Y along with Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines.
The women’s line-up comprises Soniia Cheah, Goh Jin Wei, Lim Yin Fun and S. Kisona for the singles matches and Vivian Hoo-Woon Khe Wei and Chow Mei Kuan-Tee Jing Yi for doubles. — Bernama