TARGET: Coach wants Daren, Wei Feng to justify world rankings
LIEW Daren and Chong Wei Feng have consistently been improving their respective world rankings of late but quality performance is what national singles chief coach Rashid Sidek wants from them in order to become top class players.
A string of good results, including the French Open title in October, has seen Daren breaking into the top 20 and he is currently ranked 16th while Wei Feng, who reached the semi-finals of a super series for the first time in the China Open, is ranked 21 but Rashid feels they must produce quality performance to reflect their ranking.
Rashid said Lee Chong Wei justifies his World No 1 status by regularly winning international honours while Daren and Wei Feng have a lot more to prove on the world stage.
"There is improvement but their focus should be on quality performance. The world ranking is good for them in terms of earning better incentives but it is not going to guarantee them success on the international stage," said Rashid.
"Daren has won the French Open while Wei Feng managed to reach the semi-finals of the China Open but they need to produce quality results in big events. Despite their progress, we are still depending on Chong Wei when it comes to winning titles and Daren and Wei Feng must do more to change this situation.
"China's biggest advantage is that they have a great champion in Lin Dan while his back-ups are capable of doing the spoiler's job and they also have the quality to win when their top player is absent.
"We have to constantly work to get our players to qualify for semi-finals and finals, which will take the pressure away from Chong Wei and also improve Malaysia's chances of winning.
"China shuttlers have always complimented each other and the presence of more players in major events gives them a clear edge. If Daren and Wei Feng can progress fast, we can have three strong players to counter China.
"Next year's World Championships will be crucial as Chong Wei is aiming to win it and Daren and Wei Feng's presence in the event with true quality will help Malaysia's cause.
"China will be having the maximum number of three as well and Chong Wei doesn't have to be the only one capable of beating them if Daren and Wei Feng can also contribute."
Rashid said the duo will also be playing in selected grand prix gold events as winning super series titles is not be an easy task.
Wei Feng has yet to win an international grand prix title while Daren will be pushing hard to win more super series crowns after the French Open breakthrough.
Arif Latif is another player who has been showing good progress and is currently ranked 36. He has the opportunity to secure his first title in the Korean Open grand prix gold where he is the top seed.