KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's chances of winning the Thomas Cup next year does not look bright.
This was based on the players' recent performance at the World Championships in Glasgow and the Kuala Lumpur Sea Games (KL2017).
On Saturday, BA of Malaysia (BAM) technical director Morten Frost, admitted that it will not be easy to achieve the target. This is one the national body's Key Performance Indicators (KPI) for the year 2018, as stated in their four-year (2017-2020) blueprint.
Frost, however, believes that it is still not impossible for the men's team to end Malaysia's 26-year wait for the title, since last winning it in 1992.
"I must admit that the World Champions and Sea Games have not been good tournaments for our shuttlers, especially the men.
"Chances to win the Thomas Cup, definitely does not look good now but it is still not impossible," said the Dane.
At the world meet, former men's singles world No 1 Lee Chong Wei was shockingly sent packing in the opening round while men's doubles Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong and Chooi Kah Ming-Low Juan Shen failed to get past the second round.
Mixed doubles Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing, were the only ones to make it to the third round before crashing out, ending Malaysia's interest in the competition.
And at the Sea Games, the men's team had to settle for silver after losing 3-0 to Indonesia in the final. In the individual event, only Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi made it to the last stage, apart from women's singles Goh Jin Wei, Soniia Cheah and mixed doubles' Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie.
"It definitely looks difficult to win the Thomas Cup now, but we have taken some steps and measures, so lets see. I am still confident," added Frost.
"We have brought in Misbun (Sidek) as head coach for the men's singles department and Chong Wei has also announced that he will continue playing. Obviously he remains the cornerstone of the team.
"We also need to get players like Iskandar (Zulkarnain Zainuddin) and Lee Zii Jia up the world ranking, by sending them for more tournaments. Iskandar has been struggling with injury (back) the first few months this year while Zii Jia just recently broke into the senior squad. They will need some time.
"For men's doubles, we definitely need at least two top 10 pairs if we want to win the Thomas Cup next year."
It is learnt that due to poor recent performances, men's doubles Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin Rumsani have been withdrawn from the Vietnam Open next week. Discussions are also ongoing on the future of Rio Olympic Games silver medallists V Shem-Wee Kiong.
The Thomas and Uber Cup Finals will take place in Bangkok, Thailand in May.