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Malaysian Coach Misbun Warns about Lazy Attitude with Thomas Cup on the Horizon

Malaysia may be favourites to win this week's Thomas Cup qualifiers in Vietnam but coach Misbun Sidek is not taking any chances.

Misbun is particularly concerned about his singles players, led by world number two Lee Chong Wei. Malaysia are not expected to face any serious opposition in Ho Chi Minh City but Misbun has warned his players of complacency, which may affect the team ahead of next month's All England championships.

"Many players would take it lightly but for me the Thomas Cup qualifiers are extremely important. We will qualify but the players have plenty to learn in Vietnam," said Misbun in the local media.

"This is Chong Wei's opportunity to become a leader. He has matured very much of late and now he can become a role model to his younger teammates.

"Chong Wei is becoming a popular player and his character will get stronger during the Thomas Cup qualifiers. This will eventually help him in his title bid in the All England, which is not too far away."

"The players' conduct in Vietnam will be very important and they cannot be too relaxed. This could make them complacent and the negative effects will only be seen in the All England."

Malaysia are top seeds for the qualifiers in Vietnam and their toughest challengers are expected to be South Korea, who have top singles players such as Park Sung-hwan and Lee Hyun-il, who Chong Wei defeated in the Malaysian Open final in January.

Chong Wei said it was important for Malaysia to perform well in Vietnam with failure to qualify not an option. He also hopes to use the tournament as a warm-up for the All England in Birmingham, where is hoping to at least reach the final.

Chong Wei was quoted as saying: "There is a tendency for the players to take Thomas Cup qualifiers lightly but for me, I have some targets. I must provide the first point and also keep the winning edge against some strong shuttlers.

"Matches against Park Sung Hwan (of South Korea) or Boonsak (Ponsana of Thailand) will be tough but it will help me keep the momentum. I need to keep up my form right through to the All England and that's why I must be focused in Vietnam."

A total of four teams will qualify for the Thomas Cup Finals in Jakarta on May 11-18, where hosts Indonesia and defending champions China have gain automatic qualification.












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