When Malaysia open their Thomas Cup Group D campaign against Hong Kong this Saturday, the contingent will be up not just against the shuttlers, but also two Malaysian coaches in their setup.

Choong Tan Fook and most recently Wong Choong Hann are pivotal figures in the Hong Kong coaching hierarchy, with Choong serving with the country’s national association since 2010.

Wong, meanwhile, had been roped in as the Hong Kong men's singles coach since last year, after he resigned from the Badminton Association of Malaysia.

While the former British empire colony nation will enter their match against Malaysia as underdogs, nothing can be taken for granted as Wong and Choong plan an upset.

The Malaysian shuttlers will especially have to heed Hong Kong’s strategy of roping in their two mixed doubles players into their Thomas Cup squad.

Tang Chun Man and Reginald Lee are ranked in the top 10 and 20 respectively in their fields, but possess the capability to forge a successful combination in the men’s doubles too.

Both shuttlers have teamed up with other players in the squad to record big wins at the Asia Team and Asia Mixed Team Championships in 2022 and last year.

Wong’s role will be pivotal in this aspect to guide his team against the Malaysian contingent whom he is so familiar with, having served as the national coaching director for close to five years.

After he resigned last year, Hong Kong immediately swooped in to secure his services after they lost Wong Tat Meng, who left them to join Team LZJ.

Hong Kong will rely heavily on Choong Hann’s expertise to deliver them victories in the men’s singles through Lee Cheuk Yiu, Angus Ng Ka Long and potentially Tony Gunawan.

The Thomas Cup also holds special significance for both the former national shuttlers, who amassed silver medals after helping Malaysia finish second in the 1998 & 2002 editions.