Malaysia cannot continue depending on 'old guards' to lead the country's challenge at the international stage, especially in badminton, said Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek.He added that the performances and ability of ageing national players was limited."National back up shuttlers must be given an opportunity to show their talent and this should have been done a long time ago," he told reporters after launching the 2010 National Futsal League here on Tuesday.
National singles head coach Rashid Sidek and national doubles head coach Rexy Mainaky also echoed a similar sentiment.However, the National team's defeat in the Thomas and Uber Cup finals last week was not solely due to age factor but also a combination of technical and diet, said Ahmad Shabery."The question was not about age entirely but we want the best talent to represent the country. But can't back up players beat veterans like Wong Choon Hang (33) and Muhd Hafiz Hashim (28)?"It is not only Malaysia who are facing such a predicament but Indonesia and Denmark are also in a similar situation," he said.
In the Thomas Cup which ended last Sunday, the Malaysian team led by world number one Datuk Lee Chong Wei lost tamely 0-3 to eventual winners China in the semifinals.With world number one singles player Chong Wei and world number one doubles pair Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong in the stable, expectations were high on the Malaysian team to wrest the Thomas Cup after having won the cup in 1992 by beating Indonesia 3-2 at Stadium Negara.