PETALING JAYA: It’s hard for Datuk Misbun Sidek to make an assessment of his former charge Lee Zii Jia’s decision to turn professional.
The 23-year-old Zii Jia trained under Misbun when the latter was the singles coach in the national team but now, he is in charge of the juniors in Academy Badminton Malaysia. And it’s not wrong to say that Zii Jia showed good progress under Misbun before he went on to make a name for himself.
“I’m no longer in the national set-up and it’s hard to figure out why Zii Jia has left but I respect his decision,” said Misbun.
“I met him on the day he tendered his resignation. I was surprised with his decision but I could only wish him the best on the next stage of his life.
“As someone who works under the national body, I would only encourage the players to stay under the umbrella body as they have the best facilities, training and opportunities to compete,” he said.
Misbun recalled a time when Roslin Hashim and Ismail Saman left the BAM to join professional club Nusa Mahsuri.
Roslin had to pay about RM67,000 while Ismail had to fork out RM44,000 under the leadership of Abdullah Fadzil Che Wan as a form of penalty for leaving the national team.
“Both had reasons to leave the BAM then, they wanted to come and train under me at Nusa. They wanted a coach who can help them reach their goals,” said Misbun.
“Nusa paid some of the money while we also collected money from the public and many threw their support. We managed to pay all. Then, there were consequences for leaving the national team,” he said.
Misbun hoped Zii Jia will be able to reach his goals as an independent player.