Former world number one Lee Chong Wei thinks the national contingent's men team has a high chance to become champions at the upcoming Asia Team Championships (February 15-20).
On paper, Malaysia can boast one of the strongest men’s squads for the Shah Alam tournament, which is void of several big names such as Kento Momota and Anthony Ginting.
“I see our men’s squad has a high chance to be champions, but they must qualify for the semi-finals first to build up confidence.
“I am also looking forward to see the performances of our young shuttlers such as Ng Tze Yong, Man Wei Chong-Tee Kai Wun and Aidil Sholeh when they take to court,” he said.
The inclusion of world number seven Lee Zii Jia definitely boosted the quality of the men’s team.
Upcoming men’s singles Ng Tze Yong would also get a chance to impress as the second men’s singles, while Aidil and Jacky Kok are set to battle it out for the third singles.
Malaysia's men's doubles department would feature Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik as the number one pair and Man-Tee, who recently won the Syed Modi International title.
Judging by rank, the men's team should coast to easy wins over Japan and Kazakhstan in Group B.
Japan assembled a young squad with their singles shuttlers being ranked between 129th–340th, while one of their men’s doubles pair are 848th on the world standings.
Putting aside minnows Kazakhstan, Singapore are arguably the only nation who can make life difficult for the Malaysians.
With only eight nations participating, the tournament would move straight into the semi-finals, as opposed to the quarter-finals in previous editions.
This came after Thailand and Chinese Taipei pulled out due to the COVID-19 situation.