THE BA of Malaysia (BAM), while stating it has been a futile attempt to identify a chief coach, is in favour of appointing a local as the project manager to run its 2016, 2020 and 2024 projects.
The BAM executive committee, chaired by president Datuk Seri Nadzmi Salleh, has given the nod for an individual with managerial skills and sufficient technical knowledge to take up the post. Nadzmi stressed that the candidate will be given absolute authority, his responsibilities will be clearly spelt out and will be accountable for the success or failure of the entire programme.
The 2016 structure will see Rashid Sidek and Tan Kim Her as the overall singles and doubles chief coaches of the elite squads while the new project manager's views will be considered before naming the head coach of the 2016 project which will consist of Under-21 players.
The 2020 squad will be based at the Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) while the 2024 project will focus on talents at the state level. It will be the job of the project manager to oversee the entire programme.
"The structure on the whole will not change much but we will hire a project manager to oversee the 2016, 2020 and 2024 projects. We have decided that a local will be best suited for the job," said Nadzmi.
"We have tried out a high performance director but it was only on a part-time basis as we could not get the right candidate and this is also the reason why we are not appointing a chief coach or a coaching director.
"The project manager's duties will have clear goals and responsibilities and he will be given the authority to implement the plans to achieve them. He will also be accountable for the success or failure of the national team.
"The coaching and training committee (CTC) has not interfered in the decision making of the coaches in the past and this will remain when the new manager takes up his position.
"We have also appointed Rashid and Kim Her as the singles and doubles chief coaches for the 2016 elite squad and they will report to the project manager.
"The rest of the positions will be filled after consultations with the project manager who will be appointed once we identify the candidate."
Although BAM didn't reveal the candidates, it is believed former international Kwan Yoke Meng and former SRA of Malaysia (SRAM) executive director Kol (Rtd) Wong Ah Jit are the front-runners for the position.
Nadzmi also stated South Korean Park Joo Bong, who had a previous stint with BAM between 2000 and 2003, was also deliberated but nothing came of it. However, BAM exco member David Wee, who is in Tokyo as the manager of the national team competing in the Japan Open, and Kim Her are expected to speak to Joo Bong on his availability.
Wong Tat Meng has also been confirmed as the women's singles coach and will be taking over from Chi Shanrong.
BAM has also clarified that there had been an error in allowing women's doubles Ng Hui Lin-Ng Hui Ern to be part of the national team as they have been studying full-time in England for almost a year. The mistake will be rectified.
This is to probably avoid setting a precedence where players could take the option of studying full-time after completing their secondary education and become part-time players with the national team.