“TOUGHEN up and be ready for Misbun.”
That was Lee Chong Wei’s reminder to his teammates ahead of Datuk Misbun Sidek’s second coming to the BAM next month.
Misbun, 57, was on Thursday reappointed as men’s singles head coach, six years after he quit the national body citing differences with certain parties.
Chong Wei is the only remaining shuttler in the national squad who has had the opportunity to train under Misbun, and the three-time Olympic silver medallist does not recall having it easy.
“People look at me now and they forget the hardship, they forget my past.
“Misbun and I go way back, in fact he is more of a father figure to me. I had to meet him on several occasions before he was convinced to make a return. He left the last time, because certain quarters had challenged him.
“He is a no-nonsense guy and I remember everything he taught me during training back then. All I can say to my fellow teammates is be ready.
“It will not be an easy ride, but he (Misbun) will do his best to get you there,” said Chong Wei, who recently fell two rungs to No 3 in the world.
Chong Wei, who reached his first Olympic Games final (2008) under Misbun, added that his former coach does indeed have a magical touch and could be the key to Malaysia’s men’s singles woes in recent years.
“I believe that we will see improvement under Misbun because he has a philosophy.
“And from what I’ve heard after the C&T (Coaching and Training) meeting on Thursday, Misbun will be assisted by Hendrawan, Indra Wijaya and Sairul (Amar Ayob). I see a good working team and I’m certain we will benefit from it.”
Chong Wei’s main mission this year is the World Championships in Glasgow, Scotland, while Misbun will have more on his plate as he is expected to prepare players like Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin, Lee Zii Jia, Lim Chi Wing and Soon Joo Ven for the Kuala Lumpur Sea Games in August where BAM have set a target of two gold medals, two silver and four bronze.
The mammoth task awaiting Misbun and newly promoted men’s doubles head coach Cheah Soon Kit, however, would be to land the Thomas Cup title next year.
Malaysia last captured the Thomas Cup in 1992, when Misbun was part of the coaching staff while Soon Kit played an important role as a player in the men’s doubles.